Cross country moving can be an extremely stressful process. Not only is a long distance move full of pressure, but all of the anxieties of moving to an entirely new location and starting over come with it. A cross country move can be hard on every member of the family, but especially so for children.
Long distance moving can truly take a toll on kids. The age range which makes such a move the hardest is probably 10 to 16. This is the age where children really start to build strong bonds with their friends and it becomes harder to make new friends than it was at a younger age. I have seen it firsthand, my 12 year old daughter was devastated when I told her of our cross country moving plans.
Luckily she acclimated to the new location rather easily. There are a few tricks you can employ to make the cross country moving process a bit easier on your kids. After all, every member of the family deserves a chance at being happy with uncontrollable circumstances, cross country moving can often be.
Give your children as much time as possible to process the move. Ideally, as soon as you find out that you will be cross country moving, inform your kids. Let me backtrack, first pose the move as a proposition. Something like, “how would you feel about moving?” should do. There is a good chance (depending on the circumstance) that they will respond by saying, “absolutely not!” but it opens the discussion.
Let the idea roll around in their heads for a couple days. Who knows, maybe upon mulling it over, they will be excited for cross country moving. I even went so far as to watch movies about road trips with my daughter to get her subconsciously excited about it.
Finally, drop the bomb. After you have given your children some time to process the prospect of cross country moving, inform them that it is happening. If you are lucky, they will be on board like my daughter was by this point. Not everyone can be so lucky, though.
Be prepared for the worst. The child may kick and scream and cry and curse. Let them express their emotions. They have the right to be upset. From this point (once they have calmed down) have a discussion with them about where you are going and why. Children are much more likely to accept something if there is a valid reason for it.
Most importantly, as I said, make sure they have as much time as possible to prepare. They will have to say goodbye to friends, and get accustomed to the idea. Try to make this easy on them and cross country moving will go as smoothly as you had hoped.
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