Successfully Relocating Your Smallest Movers
The majority of relocating families have dependent children. If you are moving with children, you probably researched schools before moving; however, personal school visits will transform the unknown into reality. Visits to new schools to survey the classrooms and meet teachers will go a long way to allay your, and your children’s worries about the new environment.
Listen carefully to each child’s concerns—every move can bring new issues to the surface. Encourage your children to maintain contact with former friends, even while trying to make new friends. Exchanging photos, having email access and possibly a cell phone with a camera feature can help bridge the gap between old and new friends during the early weeks in a new location.
Dealing with challenges
Keep in mind that every stage and every age can bring new challenges. Children who sailed through the last move could be in an entirely different place emotionally and physically for this move, so parents cannot assume that a child will ease into the current move. Routinely share accomplishments and challenges with each other and talk about ways to overcome difficulties. Children need to know that even though the parents are responsible for uprooting them, you both have challenges to face, and you need to work together as a family to solve them.
The following signs may indicate that children are struggling with the adjustment: sudden reading difficulties, changes in attention span or study habits, weight loss or gain, altered enthusiasm or energy levels, strained relationships with you or their siblings, or disturbed sleep patterns. Stay closely involved with your children during the early months in a new location so you know how they are feeling, what they are thinking and who their new friends are.
Consider volunteering or get involved with the school so that you can see for yourself how your children are managing. Both adults and children need the stability and comfort of established routines, so keep the same rules, bedtimes, mealtimes, allowances and expectations that you had before moving. Refer to the Tips for Settling In sidebar for more great info to help both you and the kids.
Children and Safety
When children are in an unfamiliar environment, they can easily forget basic safety rules. The following are always a good reminder:
• Keep close to a parent, and take an adult’s hand in crowded areas.
• Carry personal identification and phone numbers to contact parents at all times.
• Know where to meet in case families become separated.
• Review street crossing safety guidelines.
• Make sure children understand how to get help safely if they get lost.
About the Author | Beverly D. Roman founded BR Anchor Publishing in 1990 and has written more than 30 international and domestic relocation books. Two of her books won the Employee Relocation Couns Achievement Award for Special Purpose Programs. Her international newsletter has supported corporations and the military in over 140 countries for more than18 years. Beverly served from 2002-2004 as founding chairperson for Families in Global Transition, Inc. (FIGT) an organization that focuses on the most critical issues associated with international cultural transitions. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.641.1140 or visit www.branchor.com.