As you know, we're about to move, and I also got a few requests to talk about helping kids through transitions like changing houses or moving long distances. The last transition I helped them navigate through was the divorce, and then moving apartments two years ago, so I really don't know much.
In my own situation, I've been hoping this transition would be relatively easy on my kids, mostly because they've been wanting to live in a house with a yard for so long, and they are over the moon to be living close enough to see my parents regularly. And our commutes (their commute to school and my commute to and from work) have been so hard on them. I think a lot of things will become way easier for all of us.
But I can't fool myself that they're not going to have negative emotions about it. Even just packing up our apartment and making it not look like it usually does is scary. And what if you put your stuff in a box and then you never get that stuff back? With kids, the potential is just as real as the reality, and I have to remember that and stay down at their eye level to see things the way they do.
Obviously, honesty is important. But I'm also realizing that I've been assuming my kids understood things that they don't, about all kinds of things like registering for school, living in a house, how I'm going to buy a house, etc. So I've been very honest with them, but they still didn't really understand what was going to happen next.
I have been especially conscious of needing to be as explicit as possible that I'm in charge (when I'm with them–their dad is in charge when he's with them) and that I'll manage things and take care of them, so they don't have to be the adult or worry about what to do. I don't want them to think there's a possibility that they won't be taken care of, or that they'll be forced to make decisions in this process other than what comforter cover to get for their new bedrooms.
I also realize that I'm lucky that my kids are old enough to be very verbal about what's bugging them, so we can "just talk about it."
What do you think? Have you helped a child through a transition? What did you learn that you wouldn't have thought of? What advice do you have for me, and for anyone else in transition?