This way you can make the move easier for your child.
Moving to a new city or to another country is usually associated with great stress. Apart from all the planning and execution of the move, it is of course also a major emotional challenge. Leaving the familiar environment and familiar people, settling into the new environment is not an easy task for everyone involved.
It is said that small children feel comfortable where the family or the closest caregivers are. That's true, but it's still a big challenge for them too. Because they too have to say goodbye to their current home and to the familiar people and friends. And to do that, they need the support of their parents. Children can usually adapt to new situations faster than we adults. Nevertheless, they also leave a lot behind, the friends of the neighbors, the favorite teacher, the well-known playground, etc.
So it's completely normal that your child may behave differently around the move or need an extra portion of affection from you.
Here are a few tips on how to make moving easier for your child.
- Discuss the upcoming move with your child
Once it is clear that you are going to move, talk to your child about it. Tell him about the plans, how your new home will look like, what great things await you in the new city/country! Explain the reasons for the move and how it will work. This gives your child time to get used to the upcoming change. Because it's also bad for children to be presented with a fait accompli without having time to get used to the idea. The younger your child is, the more abstract the move will be for your child. So always take the time to talk to him about it and explain everything to him in detail.
- Explore the new city or the new environment together
Show your child the new city, the new apartment, the new house. Show your child where the nearest playground is, the surrounding attractions (e.g. swimming pool, soccer field, etc.). If your new home town is far away and it is therefore not possible for you to explore the area together in advance, then use Google maps to do so. Find pictures and talk a lot about the new city/country.
- Involve your child in the planning
Plan together what the new children's room will look like, for example, or how you want to design the new living room. You need new furniture, choose it together. You can also do some of the packing together. Your child should pack their own things with them.
- Have a farewell party
Celebrate your farewell! Something new and exciting awaits you - it needs to be celebrated! Of course goodbyes are sad, but a celebration is something great. Invite all your loved ones again, spend a nice time together. But also allow your child (in this situation) any mood swings and sadness and be there for your child.
- stay in touch
Luckily, Facetime, Skype etc. make it easier to stay in touch these days. This will help your child realize that just because of the newly created physical distance, friends and significant others will not disappear from life.
- Set up the children's room first
When the time has come and the move has come, the first thing to do is set up the children's room. It is important that your child feels comfortable in your new home from the start. Familiar things can help, such as pictures, lamps, toys that were already there in the children's room. Especially small children need reference points.
- The first night in your home
Moving days are incredibly exhausting (both mentally and physically) and I'm sure you're all pretty exhausted by the end of the day. But try to make it possible to have a nice dinner together. Even if the furniture hasn't been set up yet, why not have a picnic inside, the lamps haven't been installed yet? No problem, then just a candlelight dinner. And on a day like this, you can also use a delivery service ;) If it's possible, make sure that you can still keep to your usual evening ritual. This will give your child security.
- Familiarize yourself with your new surroundings
Introduce yourselves to the new neighbors, take your child with you, maybe there are children of the same age in your new neighborhood. New play partners make it easier for your child to settle in. You can also have a look at the new kindergarten (at least from the outside) and eat a piece of cake in the nearby café.
- Take extra time
Most children need a lot of attention and affection in the first few days/weeks after the move. Take your time and be there for your child. You should also take a few days "off" from work and daycare (or don't start getting used to daycare right away) and spend a lot of time together in your new home and the surrounding area. It may also be at this time that your child is very clingy and only wants to be with you. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. It may also want to sleep with you in bed, which is also completely normal in the first few days in the new environment.
- take advantage of leisure activities
Is there a play group in your neighborhood, or children's gymnastics? These are wonderful opportunities for your child to connect with other children and make new friends.
Such a move means a significant amount of stress for the whole family, so it is also important that you take care of yourself and don't neglect your needs. And remember, your new home doesn't have to be perfect in no time. It's completely ok if all the lamps aren't hanging immediately, or one or the other moving box isn't unpacked in the first 24 hours <3