I’ve been thinking a lot about families moving. As a family, we’ve moved quite often – sometimes across the country and sometimes across town.
It is almost always bittersweet – the anticipation of a new place, a new adventure along with the pangs of leaving behind all that is so familiar, all that has been garnered.
A little girl blurted out to me recently, “On Sunday, we’re going to look at a new house to see if we like it. But, then, we’ll come back to our “real house.”
Our “real house” . For that little girl, the other house, no matter how special, was not her “real house” – at least not yet.
For most families involved in the moving process, it’s the change in routines, maybe even family rituals, that get short-changed, that are so upsetting. The pace of life increases, parents are often distracted and stressed. Things are being boxed up, sold, given away. As adults we expect these things, but for children, sometimes their biggest concern is that they will be left behind – or even given away. They often feel powerless in participating or comprehending the changes taking place.
In any kind of significant upheavals in a child’s life, the biggest concern is always “what will happen to me?” Creating a family “moving story” can be exactly what children need to inform and assure them just what is and will be taking place, and that they are safe.
By telling a child in an age-appropriate way what’s going to occur, what the child can expect, his/her very own “moving story” including the special details as to what will happen to friends, toys and all his/her family’s things, you will notice your child’s anxiety going down.
Don’t think, however, the “moving story” is a one-shot deal. One mom just told me how she took the time and shared a pretty elaborate story with her little girl, about their upcoming move to a new house. Immediately her daughter said, “tell me again“.
Plan on sharing the” moving story” daily. Your children will want to hear it - a litany of love that will comfort and quell their imagined fears and insecurities and make them feel included.
Information is powerful. Your personal “moving story” will provide children with the answers, understanding and acceptance for when it is time for the new house to become your family’s “real house”.
In a few days, one of our families involved at The Parenting Place will be moving from La Crosse to Spokane, WA. We wish all of the Aldreds - Alison, Jason, Sophie, Will, Beatrice and Elliot all the best. It has been so much fun “playing” with you at Play Shoppe and getting to know and appreciate the love, energy and spirit that makes your family so special. We hope you take with you warm memories of your friends here. You will definitely be missed.