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As much as we all want moving to be the best possible experience for everyone in the family, moving can be especially hard on kids. Whether they’ve moved due to a change in the family situation, such as death or divorce, or moved due to a parent’s new job, the change in routine can be frustrating and upsetting.

There are ways that parents can help kids adjust to a move and cope better with the changes.

Be Understanding

When parents are moving for a job they’re excited about, they may want everyone to be happy for them. When they’re moving due to a divorce, or because a job change they did not want, their feelings may be much more complex. They may want everyone in the family to share their feelings, from frustration to jubilation.

One way parents can help kids cope after a big move is to let them feel how they’re feeling, and not expect their feelings to match parental feelings. Letting kids feel how they feel and supporting their emotions goes a long way towards letting those feelings settle down as kids start to cope.

Help Them Find Social Opportunities

Parents often move kids during the summer when possible to avoid disrupting the school year. While this makes a lot of sense in many different ways, it does keep kids from the most obvious source of new friends. Parents can help kids cope with this social interruption in several ways. They can help kids keep in touch with their old friends through play dates if the move isn’t too far away, and through social media, video chats, and more, if the move is farther.

Parents can also look for clubs, activities, and other social opportunities in a new community. Signing a kid up for their favorite sport, for example, or finding them the local LEGO club can help a kid make new friends. Having a social circle can make coping with a move much simpler.

Get Them Excited About A New Room

Whether your kid is very young or is a teenager, getting their help in decorating their new room can be a big step towards getting them excited about a move. Older kids may be bored by a media themed bedroom, but they may still be willing to help with color choices and furniture choices. Younger kids may need to be focused more on things like curtains and blankets which aren’t too expensive to replace as tastes change, while parents pick more long-lasting items, such as furniture.

Either way, decorating their room helps to give kids agency during a move, which is often completely out of their control. Kids of all ages are already aware that much of their lives, they are doing what other people tell them to do; by giving them a place where they are the boss of what they’re doing, parents can help them feel better about not having control in other areas.

Explore the Neighborhood Together

Kids are often concerned about what they’re not familiar with. Some kids like to explore and make new friends on their own, but others – especially younger kids – will need a tour guide to the new neighborhood. Parents may choose to do some research ahead of time to figure out where to go and what to show off, or they may simply get in the car and drive, looking for interesting things. Either way, parents and kids get some quality time together and they learn about the area where they’ve moved to; both situations are great.

Let Kids Take Their Time To Feel How They Feel

Too often, parents try to jolly kids out of funks, pushing them to feel happy even when they’re not. This is such a mistake. Kids deserve the time to feel sad or down about a move, even if it’s in the family’s best interests. When kids express frustrations or sadness, parents should mirror those emotions, saying things like “I know, I’m so sorry that you’re sad about what’s happening.”

Don’t rush to add “But there’s that great library down the road.” Kids need to get there on their own, and pushing them towards things that parents assume they’ll enjoy can cause bitterness towards those specific, enjoyable things.

It can be tough to watch a kid struggle with coping after a move. Parents want their kids to be happy and thriving, and it can take time for kids to adjust to these big changes. But the best thing a parent can do is support their child, give them space, and let them feel how they feel as time progresses.

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