The best way you can help your child is by spending more time with him, and listening to him talk and ask questions about the move. If he can express his fears, anger, and sadness, he’ll feel better. If he believes his negative feelings are unacceptable, he’ll hide them and express his anxiety in other ways. He may lose his appetite, whine, cry frequently, or fight more with his siblings.
Encourage your child to talk about moving. Ask questions. “What’s the best part about moving? What don’t you like?” “What can I do to make this easier for you?” Show that you understand his feelings. “I know it’s hard to leave our house. You’ll really miss your friends, won’t you?” Talk about the separations he’ll experience if you’re moving far away. He may be upset about leaving grandparents, cousins, a babysitter, or teacher. Let him know he can stay in contact with people who are special to him. If he’s four or five, help him plan a farewell with his friends by having his friends over for a party or outdoor snacks and games. He may decide to make cards for friends or offer them a treasure from his room.
Before you pack, take photographs or videos of each room in your house, and ask your child if he wants to be in the pictures. He might want to help with the packing, or he may want nothing to do with the process. Don’t insist on his help. As you pack his belongings, don’t get rid of his things without asking him. He may still feel attached to playthings he’s outgrown, and if the move is difficult for him, he may not want to part with any possessions. “I’m keeping everything!” If he feels this way, put all the items you’d like to discard in a box, take them to the new house, and, after he’s adjusted, ask which ones he’d like to keep.
Immediately after the move, resume important family rituals like bedtime stories, evening snacks, and breakfast with the whole family. If he’s going to a new kindergarten class, show him his new school, and set up an appointment to visit the principal and tour the building. And remember, in the midst of unpacking, your child will need extra time, reassurance, and love.