This week's parenting post focuses on a topic that I have become quite familiar with over the years: moving. As a military family, it is just a simple part of our lifestyle. For some, however, it isn't quite as simple and the thought of packing up all of your belongings and having to move can be unsettling at best and scary at worst.
Moving with kids includes some simple basic truths. Accept these and the process will be much easier than you think!
1. Kids Have LOTS of Stuff! (Read: CRAP) Kids, young, tween and teen just have more stuff than you can wrap your head around when it comes to moving. Toys, books, clothes, sports gear, school trophies. It all just adds up over the years. You have two choices when it comes to all the stuff your kids have: 1. Purge...about 4 months before your move, go through your child's room, play room etc and get rid of things that are no longer used or that are no longer age appropriate. DON'T let sentimentality and nostalgia rule your day, in this case either. I mean, really?! That light up musical telephone your child had as a toddler has no value if he's going into middle school next year! If throwing things away is difficult for you to do, then set things aside for donation. I donate to Good Will and community outreach programs all the time. 2) Accept the reality and be ok with it. If you just CANNOT part with that musical light up telephone, then by all means keep it. You do not have to be part of the "Purge movement" if you don't want. The catch? You don't get to complain about it either.
2. They CAN Help. Having your kids help with the process of moving is not only good and helpful for you; but also for them. Since we are a military family, we have people come and pack for us, so we are lucky in that regard. Still, I have each of my kids participate in the sorting and preparing that takes place before each of our moves. Kids need to feel that moving is something they have a voice in and that it isn't just something that is happening TO them. It also teaches them a sense of pride about ownership of their things.
3. They Will Love it AND Hate it. Moving away from their friends and their familiar environment is bound to cause anxiety, fear and doubts in kids. There will be probably be tears of frustration, mood swings, and a general sense of sadness as moving day approaches. If your child is small, I suggest preparing them early for the move. When mine were toddlers, I began talking about an upcoming move as soon as we found out where we were going. It doesn't have to be a large lecture either when they are little. A simple, "Soon we'll go on an airplane (or a long car ride) and we'll live in a new house. It's a life changing situation, don't just spring it on them.
On the other hand, once they've accepted that they will be moving, many kids will start to ask questions about where you'll be moving to. The more enthusiastic and forthcoming you are about it, and they way you answer their questions can really help them become excited and happy about moving.
4. They Need Fun and Family Time It is important that moving and all the processes involved with it don't consume their lives....even though moving really is all consuming. If your family has a family movie night tradition or weekly game night, keep those scheduled for as long as you can. Children thrive with routine and stability. Moving is already disruptive enough...balance that disruption by keeping things that are familiar to them. Also, if possible schedule a vacation in conjuction with moving. If you have to be on the road and at a hotel until your new residence is ready then make it an adventure. If finances are a concern, it's ok. Most kids are happy with a hotel pool and the arcade. Splurge one night and go see a movie or go bowling. Spending family fun time together doesn't have to mean a Disney World Vacation.
5. They Will Handle it Better Than You Think. Our children are much stronger than we often give them credit for. There will be difficult moments along the way, to be sure; but in the end, they will find "their battle rhythm", as we say in the military PCS life. They will adjust, adapt and rise to the challenge. They will be ok...and so will you.
Have a great day!
Just one Linky Party for this week.
1. Not So Wordless Wednesdays