How children can be affected by a house move
Moving to a new house can be a stressful time for everyone. As parents, you’ll be coordinating all manner of things and keeping your fingers crossed everything runs smoothly. But when it comes to the kids, they’ll be uprooted to new surroundings, will move away from their friends and potentially have to change school.
It can be tough for children, and studies have shown that it can impact their behaviour and development in later life. That isn’t always the case, however. And there are plenty of things you can do as a parent to help them every step of the way.
Understanding how the move may impact them in the short term
Children under five
Children under five are often the easiest to move with as their main focus and attachment in life is their parents. As long as both parents are together in the move, the impact on them should be fairly minimal.
School age children
The biggest concern for school age children will be moving to a new school and whether they will be able to make new friends. They may begin to show signs of stress too. Things you should look out for include:
- Poor sleep
- A lack of attention and concentration
- General signs of unhappiness including moping and crying
- Acting up including hitting and yelling
Teenagers will have the clearest understanding of the reasons behind the move, but they are potentially the ones that will be affected the most. Teenage years are the time for independence, for forming close bonds with your peer group, developing your own ways of thinking and values, as well as relying less on parents for support. The move will take them away from these close bonds of friendship and potentially a boyfriend or girlfriend. It can be hard.
Teenagers will likely both act up and show signs of unhappiness and even depression.
What you can do to help things
As a parent, it’s up to you to do everything you can to ensure your child copes with the move in the best way possible. Here are a few things you can do to help.
- Discuss it
Regardless of the age of your child, it’s important to discuss the move with them and make sure they don’t feel excluded. Children are extremely perceptive and will pick up on any stress in the home, no matter how well you try and hide it.
- Recognise your own stresses
It’s key that you can recognise how stressed you are yourself and reflect on how your behaviour may have changed. Try and always focus on the positives when discussing the move with your children and between yourselves – remember you don’t want the kids to overhear anything negative.
- Support each other
Unfortunately, a move can often be necessitated by another stressful event, such as a relationship break up or a divorce. If this is the case, it’s vital to open up to your children – especially if they are a little older – and ensure you each discuss how you are feeling. This should enable you to support each other, rather than ignoring how you feel at this stressful time.
- Get them involved
This is a great one for your school aged children who may be feeling a little left behind or excluded by the move. Make sure they feel happy, included and positive by involving them in key steps like viewing potential new homes, packing and unpacking during the move, and making their own choices on how their new rooms are set up.
- Make sure they keep in touch with friends
Reassure your school aged children that they won’t be losing touch with their friends, and make sure to invite them over to stay once everyone is settled in.
- Give them space to settle in themselves
When it comes to teenagers, it’s vital to give them the opportunity to settle in themselves, explore their surroundings and figure out their own feelings. By all means make them feel part of the move and support them where needed, but also give them space to make their own minds up.
Moving for kids can be tough, but it doesn’t always have to be.