How children cope with a move is affected by their age and where they are going. Do not underestimate! Moving with kids can be a very stressful experience!
When children are older, the stress and the emotional side of the move are a priority. When you are moving with a baby, the main task is to ensure the physical comfort of the child during the relocation process.
Babies need the constant presence of a parent. Your child, no matter what age he or she is, should be prepared for the move, so it does not come as a surprise. We always advice when moving with the kids, if your child is older, speak with him/her as early as possible. They should understand the moving process.
Your role as a parent is to provide physical and emotional comfort of your children during the relocation. When you are moving with your kids, during the actual move you may face your children experiencing different emotions – excitement, anger, relief, sadness, pain. Help them to overcome the emotional barrier of the move and discuss it freely and openly. When a child feels respected and appreciated, it is easier to discuss all aspects of the move with him/her.
Here are some tips to prepare when moving with kids:
- Give your children all the information you have about the new country/town.
- Encourage your children to complete an address book so they can keep in touch with their old friends at the new place. An e-mail address book is a good idea to maintain everyday contact with friends.
- Show your children pictures and videos of your new home, so they know what to expect.
- Visit their new school and teachers before their first day at school.
- Explore the new area with your children so they can get familiar with it.
When your children are young
The initial attitude of the child towards the move is a major factor in ensuring the smooth transition. Tell the children about everything and explain why the relocation is good for the whole family, not just for the parents. If your children are young, you should keep things light and fun. A useful tip is to explain how exactly their toys and games will be moved, because they are an important part of the child’s comfort at your new residence. They will also learn how the process of relocating works. Encourage them to speak freely about their feelings and concerns and address every need of theirs.
- Provide your children with the assurance and stability they need.
- Get them familiar with the new place. Show the destination on a map.
- Use books and games to explain the moving process.
- Get them involved in the packing process. Explain to them how to sort their toys and to put them into boxes. Let them prepare their flight bag on the moving day.
Moving with teenagers
The issues that teenagers face about moving are more complex. Teenagers are constantly seeking approval and validation. This is most often achieved through groups of friends. Changing school, leaving friends and giving up opportunities is crucial to teenagers. Although they understand the idea of the move, it is hard for them to accept it easily. Fear of the unknown will make them feel insecure. They may also experience anxiety.
- Be careful with their emotions.
- Be honest with them and explain clearly the benefits of the move.
- Be patient. Do not get angry with them and do not raise your voice.
- Discuss their concerns and answer every question.
- You may propose your child to keep a diary. This will help him/her to get through the change easier.
- Arrange exchange visits with friends.
- If you still encounter difficulties and you need a personal advice and assistance, contact your personal relocation specialist from the Matrix Relocations office closest to you, in Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Croatia, and they will make sure you have nothing to worry about.