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Helping Children to Adjust

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Moving can be very stressful for children. Leaving friends and maybe family behind to start life in an unfamiliar place may overwhelm them. There are, however, a few things you can do to help them adjust to their new environment.


Kids usually feel safe and comfortable in their bedroom. Help them toward gaining that feeling about their new bedroom by allowing them to help arrange and decorate it. Setting up their new room will help them feel like the space is theirs.

Surrounding your children with furniture and belongings from their old room can increase their comfort level. Finally, point out the all of the positive features of the new room, especially if those features weren't a part of his or her old room.


Almost everyone, including children, take comfort in routines. Try to reestablish the routines from your old home as much and as quickly as possible. After you have everything unpacked and ready to go in your new home, try to return to normal mealtimes, bedtimes, and playtimes. Moving can create a feeling of chaos. The structure of everyday life can help to reduce those feelings.

The new neighborhood

You should take the earliest opportunity to start getting your kids familiar with their new neighborhood. This can be an activity for you and your kids to undertake together. Here are some ideas:

  • Find places that can be your family's new favorite ice cream parlor or restaurant.
  • Explore local parks.
  • Take your kids with you when you run errands like going grocery shopping.
  • Take your kids bowling or mini golfing.
  • Some schools offer orientation programs for newcomers. Find out if your kids' school has one.

The bottom line is that you should find fun things for you and your kids to do in your new neighborhood. First impressions are important, so make them as enjoyable as possible for your kids. Also, getting out and exploring your new neighborhood will help your kids get acclimated to the area immediately surrounding your home.

Making new friends

Making friends can sometimes be hard for kids, but there are some steps you can take as a parent to make it much easier on your children. If you take the initiative, both you and your kids can make new friends in your new neighborhood:

  • Set up play dates for your kids with new coworkers or families from your kids' school. You can ask your child's teachers to help you get connected.
  • Local sports teams are an excellent way for your kids to get exercise, have fun, and meet new friends.
  • Introduce yourself and your kids to your new neighbors. Having friends that are right next door can be great for your kids. You may even want to invite your neighbors and their kids to a party so you and your kids can get to know them all.

In addition to helping your kids meet new friends, you should also help them stay connected with their old friends. Even if you've moved a great distance, technology makes it easier than ever to keep in touch with people from your old neighborhood. There are computer programs that, along with a webcam, can allow your kids to chat with their old friends face to face through the Internet. The telephone is another great option for staying connected.

In addition to these tips, the best thing you can do for your kids after you move is to communicate with them. Ask them about their feelings and repeatedly reassure them. Encourage them to ask questions and take the time to answer them. Finally, spend time with them as you undergo the adjustment together.

TIP: If your kids are having a rough time adjusting to the move and making friends, it may be a good idea to seek help or guidance from a professional who understands what they are going through and can help them deal with post-move stress.

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Sean McClain  Posted by Sean McClain on August 27, 2009

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