PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3
For Part 2 of our series we are going to explore more strategies for helping young kids to cope and excel when they are forced to move for their parents’ careers. If you’re just tuning in, I encourage you to check out last week’s blog for Part 1 of the series and be sure to let me know what you think.
Though the expression is used a lot, bridge building can help parents to guide their children through this experience and honestly, it might help you make the adjustment as the parent(s) in the scenario as well. Moving to new places does not require losing all contact with the friends, families and connections you leave behind. Steps can be taken to preserve relationships and provide continuous contact and “presence” even if you happen to reside in different zip codes.
STEP ONE – Family Gatherings
Host several gatherings with family and friends to announce the move and celebrate this new chapter in your lives. Fill these events with great food, harmonious conversation and fellowship. Take lots of pictures and videos to build and preserve awesome memories that can cheer the spirit once the move is complete. Allow attendees to bring parting gifts, particularly for the children that hold special meaning and can be tangible reminders of the loved ones they hold dear. Welcome family members and friends who may also wish to host events as well at their homes or other sites to add to the opportunities to fellowship before your move.
STEP TWO – Visit Special Places
Take the time to visit special places as a family that hold great memories and draw you closer to each other. This might include favorite parks, beaches, lakes, movie theaters, sporting events, musical outings or trips to other places that have been important and special places where you have all spent time. Again be sure to take lots of pictures and video. Create a scrapbook/journal of these outings with your children where they can mount pictures and record their personal thoughts and feelings about each site to review and remember as a family and/or in their private moments once you make your move.
STEP THREE – Visit the New Location With Your Kids
Visit your new location if possible before you move so that the children can get some exposure to their new neighborhood, school and general surroundings. If possible, meet some of your new neighbors and visit the schools where your children might be introduced to future teachers, classmates and friends. If a physical visit is not feasible use websites, photos and other digital and social media options to gain familiarity with your new surroundings. Any opportunity to explore and discover key information about your destination can make the move that much easier and increase the chances for a smooth transition.
STEP FOUR – Research Activities For Your Kids BEFORE the Move
Prior to your move, locate organizations and activities in which you can involve your children to help them in making new friends and building relationships to their new community. These can include scouting groups, sports teams, creative arts groups like choirs, dance or visual arts entities, school related clubs and organizations like 4-H, garden club, science clubs and more. Concentrate first on activities your children were connected to in their old location that may help create a sense of continuity and connection between their old neighborhood and the new.
STEP FIVE – Find Technologies That Help You Stay Connected To Family
Sign up for services like Marco Polo, FaceTime and Whats App to maintain audio/video presence which is almost like being there. My husband and I frequently use these options given the fact that all of our children and grandchildren either live out of state and even overseas. Families are fortunate to have these resources now and I wish we’d had access to these tools when we first packed up and moved across country. If these tools are not available to you, you can do what we did which was schedule phone calls as possible and help your kids to write letters and send pictures to family and friends back home. You can even set up an email account though I recommend that it be one that you can monitor closely for safety reasons.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to tune in next week when we’ll bring this series to a close. Also, I appreciate your feedback. Let me know if you’ve found any of this information useful and if you have any questions. I’d especially love to hear what strategies you may have used in helping your children adjust to moving.
See you next week, Family!
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