Moving from one house to another is seldom easy or fun for adults and it can be especially troubling for children. If parents deal with their children's concerns and needs thoughtfully, much of that distress and discomfort can be avoided.
Children see moves differently than their parents do, and they benefit much less from the change in their comfortable routines. Most often, a change in houses or communities is an important step forward for the adult members of the family.
A house is much more than a roof and walls to a child. It is the centre of his or her world. A move threatens to take that sphere away and leave something totally strange in its place. The familiar friends, schools, streets, and parks – will no longer exist for them. At the new home everything soon will be strange, and they will live in someone else's world.
Ask the children what the favourite things are in their lives now, and then try to make them happen in the new home. If the new home is too far away to allow a visit by the entire family after it has been selected, show the children pictures of it from every angle. Videotape it, if you can. Emphasize the positive views and be sure to include pictures of each child's new room.
Children need protection from fear of the unknown. Listen carefully to their concerns, and respond quickly to alleviate their concerns.
Plan a going-away party and let them invite their own guests. Take pictures of everyone and make a photo album. Some relationships will be extremely difficult to break and these will demand careful, thoughtful, personalized planning by both parents. How, for instance, do you move a 17-year-old 1,000 of miles from her steady boyfriend?
After the move, give each of them a long distance telephone call allowance so they can keep in touch with the people back home who matter the most to them. Buy a stack of picture postcards that show positive views of your new community, and encourage them to write good news to their friends. They will need your help and you can plan to give them the support they need.