Moving across the country is a big deal even for the most organized people:
~You have to figure out what to do with your stuff. You have to hire long distance movers (an entirely different animal than simply picking up a U-Haul and hoping you don’t run anybody over with it).
~You have to find a place to live.
~You have to help your kids adjust to the idea both of leaving their current friends and everything they know and going somewhere new and strange.
Let’s talk about that.
When we were kids, a move across the country was devastating and scary. Leaving everything we knew and understood and going out into what felt like the great unknown? No thank you. Today, it’s still scary for kids to have to pick up and move, but there are lots of things you can do to help ease the transition—even if you don’t have the money to take a family trip out there to explore pre-move.
Take a Walk Around!
God bless Google maps, right? Thanks to Google maps it is now possible to literally walk down pretty much every street in the country. Sit down at the computer with your kids and walk around your new town a little bit. If you’re moving to a bigger city, explore the neighborhood you’re hoping to live in (or in which you’ve managed to secure housing). Seeing things on the screen isn’t the same as seeing them in real life but it’s better than not getting to see them at all.
Make New Friends Before You Move
If your kids are old enough to be in school and you’re moving during the school year, set them up with pen pals! Contact the school they will be attending and ask their future teachers to help you get your kids paired up with kids who will be in their classes. They can write emails, talk on video on Skype, etc before the move. This helps your kids feel like they will have at least one friend when they get to their new town and class, which can alleviate the anxiety (at least a little) associated with being “the new kid.”
Strengthen Current Friendships
Set up phone, Skype or FaceTime dates with your kids’ current friends. Create private and protected social media profiles that the kids can use to stay in touch with their former classmates (their school probably has a system in place for this). Staying in touch is easier now than it was when we were kids and were limited to writing letters and making phone calls. Encourage your kids to write and call their old friends as often as they like. This way they won’t feel like they have to give up their old friends to make new ones.
Talk Talk Talk
The more you talk about the move, the easier it will be for your kids to adjust to the idea. Encourage your kids to ask questions and to voice their fears surrounding the move. That way you can talk through everything and maybe put some of those fears to rest.
Have you recently gone through a long distance move? What did you do to help your kids cope with the transition?