Yes, moving may be stressful for you, but to kids, it’s a traumatic experience. In fact, it can be a real source of depression. You’ll notice that your child may be a bit aloof in the first days, or irritable and angry at people around them. Relocation is such a big change for children. That’s why when you break the news to them, you should be able to reassure them and try your best to ease their worries. Anticipate these questions as you do the talk:
‘Why are we moving?’
For sure, this is one of the few things you’ll tell your kids when you talk to them about the plan. However, just because you explained to them the reason for the change doesn’t mean they’ll accept it right away. Thus, they would repeatedly ask you.
Do note that this question isn’t about giving them a logical answer, but more of expressing empathy for the helpless feeling they experience. In other words, even if your move sounds reasonable, say, to explore a business opportunity in the city or to be near a sick loved one, your children would still protest why you’re doing it simply because they don’t want it. In this case, be patient with their rants. Give them space if they want to be left alone. But, do reach out and help them get a grip of the reality of the move. Perhaps a visit or two prior to moving day will help. The ritual of packing can do the same, too.
‘What will happen to my friends here?’
Of course, your children’s social circles will be one of their concerns. They worry that they won’t see their peers anymore, that they will miss someone’s birthday parties, or that they’ll have different schools already. When these matters are brought up, listen patiently.
Let them know that you also have the same struggles. Tell them that you’re also going to miss your neighbors, the parents of their friends. More importantly, reassure them that friendships aren’t bound by space or maintained by proximity. As long as friends care for each other, even if they don’t always see one another, the relationship remains.
To make goodbyes more bearable for your kids, organise a decluttering party of some sorts. Give away some items your child doesn’t use anymore, which their friend might find useful. Your child can think of it as a ‘goodbye gift’. Hopefully, this will also reduce the stuff you need to haul from one state to another. For other heavy workload, work with Sydney-based movers in securing your possessions.
‘What if I won’t have friends there?’
Not only are your kids worried about their present friends, but their future social circles. They will have a new neighborhood, a new school, thus a new set of people to befriend. This will be jarring for them, given the pressure of adjusting fast to a different environment.
What you can do here is to encourage your children to join groups in their schools and community. There, in the soccer or basketball team or in animal rescue organisations, it will be natural to interact with peers. It won’t be as awkward and hard as they would imagine it. At the same time, don’t neglect the importance of placing familiar things in your new home. This will give them a sense of sameness at a time and a place where everything is so different.
Relocation is a huge change for children. Be especially sensitive to their emotional state during this time. Anticipate their questions so you can better prepare them for the big move.