Moving can be exciting. It can also be stressful. There are upheavals, physical work, and sad separations for the whole family. As parents pack up toys, photographs, and clothes, they often feel nostalgic. As a child says good-bye to his room, his favorite play spots, and his friends, he may feel anxious and uncertain.
The success of a move depends on the circumstances involved. Families moving because of divorce, unexpected job transfer, job loss, illness, or death, face pressures and burdens not shared by those moving under happier circumstances. A family moving to a familiar neighborhood will have an easier time than one going to a strange city or state.
Parents’ attitudes greatly influence the success of a move, since a child will often adopt their viewpoints as his own. If you’re cheerful about going to a new home, your child will accept inevitable changes more easily than if you’re nervous and upset.
The move will go more smoothly if your child doesn’t have to change schools or day care. If he can spend his school hours with familiar teachers and friends, he can concentrate on the fun things about his new home: a playroom, a nearby park, or a hill to run down. Some parents who make a mid-school-term move to a community nearby let their child finish the year in his old school or child-care center. That way, he can be comfortable in class and still meet new neighborhood children.
Because parents get caught up in the physical demands of moving, they often don’t take time to reassure and support their child. They may believe all kids are resilient and have an easy time adjusting. “You’ll make lots of new friends.” “Kindergarten is the same no matter where you go.” Yet leaving familiar surroundings can upset any child.