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Moving: Coping with Your Children's Stress


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Whether it is down the street or across an ocean, moving is stressful for everyone.  A large amount of collaboration, planning and organizing needs to be done before packing even begins.  And, if you have children, the chaos only increases.

For younger children, the concept of moving may be overwhelming, according to Ryan Ehmke’s article “Advice for Moving with Children” (  Some moves may come after life changing events such as divorce or a parent losing a job. Ehmke says, “Kids are forced to say goodbye to friends, teachers and the familiar comfort of their community.” 

To help reduce this stress, it is important that parents work to make the move as easy as possible for themselves and their kids.  For example, working with relocation counselors, who manage the details of the move, help to reduce your stress and allow you to focus on preparing your kids for the move.  A relocation counselor provides services, such as:

  • Personalized needs assessment
  • Guidance on relocation benefits and requirements
  • Advice on what to expect during the relocation process
  • Assistance with estimating and managing expense
  • Consistent communication with the family to proactively manage the process
  • Anticipation and quick resolution of problems

Ehmke suggests that parents who discuss what the relocation will be like and challenges that might occur help to reduce stress.  “Upon hearing that we were moving to a new house, my 4-year-old son asked if he could take his bedroom with us,” said Christina Salvio, Marriage and Family Therapist, LMFT.  To help address this, Salvio and her son walked through his room and pointed out all the things that were coming.  Silly? Maybe.  But, it helped her son to cope.  Your children’s concerns should be taken seriously.

For older children, maintaining their friendships are important.  Nancy Darling, Ph.D., author of the article, “Moving is Tough for Kids” (Psychology Today) reminds parents to create a plan with their children on ways they can keep in touch with important people that they are leaving behind.  Today’s technology has made long-distance relationships easier than ever before.  Encourage younger children to practice facetiming friends before they move so they can see their friends or family members.

Once the move has happened, immerse your family in your new community.  Find a new church, join organizations and take on leadership roles. Darling suggests, “It does not take long to become part of a community when you are the head of the Sunday School or organize a school bake sale or become a volunteer at the Red Cross.”

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