Mostly Q: Helping kids through transitions

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?

47 thoughts on “Mostly Q: Helping kids through transitions”

  1. Our daughter had just turned 4 when we moved. Literally. We moved two days after her birthday. What we did was made sure her room was set up first, before she had to spend the night in the new house. And we kept as many of her things set up the “same” way as we could – where her clothes went in the dressers, etc. We had her pick the paint color for her room. So we gave her control over some changes, yet tried to keep somethings routine for her comfort. The first two nights in the new house, we all slept together in the family room – mainly because our bedroom wasn’t set up so we’d have to sleep there, too but also so she felt the comfort of her family being in the same place with her. We bought her a new sleeping bag for that, too just for fun and to make it special. My daughter is very hard to transition through anything – even from one activity to the next – so we just kept aware of her needs as much as possible. She took about 8 months before she would admit liking the new house and it’s been 14 months but I think she is finally over it.So in summation: try to be aware of routines that *can* stay the same when possible; try to give some control to them over their new home/situation; and seek out something fun about whatever is new and try and make it a focus for a bit (like a new restaurant, or for us, a new sleeping bag and sleeping in the family room)

  2. We have moved a number of times with kids (my husband is in the military) and honestly I did not obsess over it too much and the kids did just fine. It helped that we get movers so there is not weeks of packing up and removal of treasured items. We make sure that special blankets and stuffed animals are saved out for the trip to the new house. When we get to the new place and our stuff arrives we do make sure to set up the kid’s bedroom first. They watch and help with the unpacking so that they can see that our things made it safely.

  3. I think the advice not to obsess over it is good. Being alert and sensitive to problems which may arise is also good – but there may be very little (as was true in the one big move we had when the kids were old enough to be aware…)It sounds like there are so many positives associated with this move that I expect (and hope) it will be mostly just a joy of casting off so many burdens.

  4. My kids aren’t old enough for me to have advice, but I think it’s smart to realize that change is hard, even good changes. We just moved and my at the time 2 yo was very familiar with the new house, as we’d visited often through the renovations. The new house is 100% better than the old house, but he still wanted to go visit the old house after the move, and he still talks about the old house a bit wistfully. Also, remember to be gentle with yourself because moving is so very stressful and you’ve got that plus a lot of other changes at the same time. But, it’s gonna be great! You just have to get from here to there….

  5. WarningThis is for older kids, like Moxie’s, but some of it can be used for younger kids. I’m really tired/foggy this morning and running on coffee energy. Not sure this is the best time for me to be writing, so please be kind. It’s a long one.
    Feelings
    Moving is complicated and filled with stress for adults. It’s not as complicated for kids. Adults have to deal with all the moving details. Kids are dealing with:
    What about my old friends, will I make new friends, what will my classroom be like, who will my teacher be, are my clothes and backpack cool enough, and why don’t you know the answer to all my concerns? You always make things better; you always have an answer, make it better for me, NOW.
    Moving teaches kids that people really can have two or more feelings at once. I’m excited, scared and sad all at the same time. Even as excited as they are about the move, at some point they will be mourning the only life they’ve known. Emotionally they’ll be bouncing back and forth between “guess where I get to go” and “look what I’m leaving”—just like any adult would.
    Even when totally fried, we tried to honored our kids feelings versus saying, “Oh you can do this.” We allowed sadness and said, “Yes it’s sad and one day it won’t be sad any more. Let me know when it isn’t sad any more.”
    Finding Courage
    Moving is a great way to show them their hidden strengths, and you want to do this without letting them know that’s what you’re doing. Make them a part of the experience. Give them non-crucial, but important jobs. If one son likes the computer let him search your new town for the things you love to do as a family. Let him find cool restaurants, coffee shops, playgrounds, and museums.
    The other son can be in charge of the road trip. I know that the goal of a rode trip is usually just to get there. The leaving you do when you move is emotional. Have him find cool places to stop on the way. This gives them something to look forward too. And keeps them busy as you pack.
    Another big job I’d let them do was the numbering of the boxes. One got a red pen and the other one got a clip board-big stuff. The younger one wrote a number on the box and told the better writer which room the box was to be unloaded in.
    That way I had a record of how many boxes we had so I could track what, if anything, was missing. If using a moving company, they’ll do it for you. But it’s a great teamwork activity for the kids and gives them something big to do each night.
    Our family always did a farewell tour. We made a list of our favorite places/things to see one more time before we leave. We also gave them a budget so they could purchase some cool stuff from their old city to decorate their new room with.
    Emotional safety
    The other rule I always had was kids stuff is the last to be packed, and the first to be unpacked. This allows them to feel emotionally safe during the transition.
    New rules
    Moving from a city life to a suburb life taught us a lot. Day one: taller got his bike off the truck and rode around the neighborhood till he met some kids. He introduced himself, like he and brother had practiced in the car and he found a friend on day one. He pushed himself to be brave and shocked the sh-t out of us!
    Tall, also taught us a big lesson. He taught us that you don’t go into someone’s house without telling one of us first. He was missing for 3 hours on day two! OMG!
    I hope that helps. I need to pack and figure out a way to contact all the moms groups in the Bay Area to set up monthly Q&A visits. I love moving, NOT!

  6. I love Sharon’s suggestions, especially the idea that transitions can teach a child that it’s possible (and even OK) to feel two different things at once. Also loved the sharing jobs, and letting kids find strength.Wanted to pop in just to add to the bit about unpacking kids’ stuff first. When we moved when I was little, I was something like 4 years old — hadn’t started kindergarten yet. I still remember how happy I was when I got to the new house…and my parents had made sure that my bed was ready for me, with all my stuffed animals on it. Sounds small, but it made a big difference at that age. There are probably any number of ways to adapt the same idea: a small part of the house with favorite toys/books ready? etc.
    Best wishes.

  7. @Moxie, your comments about your kids knowing you were in charge and about them not understanding things that you assumed they understood struck a chord with me. I grew up an Army Brat so we moved every few years and moves were just a part of life, not something to obsess overmuch about. I’m a worrier by nature, so I felt huge responsiblity for finances (not that I could do anything about them, but I worried!) and siblings, and packing, and…well I could go on, but that would take all day! It’s a bad habit, and very hard to break. I’m glad for your kids that your are aware and doing what you can to mitigate the negative impacts from moving.Good luck with the move and all the changes that will come with that. You are my hero. 🙂

  8. Find online mom’s groups in your new city and once you know the neighborhood/school you’ll be in ask to meet up with people in that area with kids similar ages. We moved over the summer and the kids started school already knowing several kids their age/grade which really helped.

  9. Transitions are an on-going concern around here as like @B’s daughter, DS (3yo, highly sensitive kid with an intense ability to read people’s emotions) has a hard time with transitions of all sizes.We haven’t moved with DS, but we’ve had lots of practice with all kinds of transitions and this is what I’ve figured out so far:
    *Walking through the details of what will happen and when (as much as we know) really helps. For DS the best way to do this has been to give him the first walk through anywhere from 15 minutes – a few days before it will happen (depending on what kind of transition).
    Then I’ll remind him 1-3 more times about what will happen. Sometimes he’ll have questions and we’ll talk through it. Not often though at his age.
    More likely he’ll repeat what I’ve been saying. I’ve pretty much figured out that the more he repeats it, the more stressed (or excited! or both!) he is about what’s going to happen. We just keep talking through it and if I can see that he is winding him self up / spinning out of control, I try to change the subject and get him to think about something else for a bit.
    Or I’ll probe for more info asking if specific things are worrying him. If I’m right, he tells me and just my saying it out loud seems to alleviate a lot of his anxiety about whatever it is. I don’t always have to have a solution.
    *We’ve also found that hyping things up too much can backfire too. He gets too overstimulated about the thought of the exciting thing that’s going to happen and can’t relax. So, essentially finding the right balance between talking something up and downplaying it. I imagine that where to draw the line is different for each kid. This definitely took some practice.
    *Giving DS an out for any new and strange situations, so that he can adjust at his own pace helps.
    So, ex., daycare added some splash pools to the play area a few weeks ago. DS didn’t like the splashing, so he didn’t want to go to daycare (took a while for me to figure out that was the issue). We walked through it and he agreed that we would talk to his teacher together to tell her he didn’t like the splashing. And that if it got too much, he would play in another area of the yard. I also explained it from the other kids’ perspectives in that they weren’t splashing to be mean, that some kids like to do that for fun (i.e. this is something we cannot change, but you can remove yourself if it gets too much).
    *As @B ,mentioned, try to keep as much of the usual schedule/routine in place.
    *Everything always goes better when I’m in a calm and positive mood myself. That being said, sometimes I’m better at this and sometimes I suck. In those sucky moments it’s just trying to make out as best we can and I work through it myself to a point where I can be calm and more positive. Time helps.
    —————————————–
    The one thing I always remind myself when I’m moving is that the period between when the old place is packed up and the new one is not yet moved in to or unpacked is the hardest part (duh, the transition, well, the physical part anyhow). I always feel so alienated and adrift. I don’t have the comfort of the old place, nor have you started to experience the excitement of the new place. I’ve caught myself thinking things like ‘Oh no! I’m going to miss my corner store.’ in those moments. And I think there’s always a tiny part of me that worries ‘Oh no! What if I’ve just made a terrible mistake.’, even if I know it’s a good thing.
    I think if we ever move with DS I’ll take lots of pictures of our condo, the neighbourhood, etc. as well as the people in our lives. There’s something about having a good record of (one of) the places you grew up.

  10. Transitions are an on-going concern around here as like @B’s daughter, DS (3yo, highly sensitive kid with an intense ability to read people’s emotions) has a hard time with transitions of all sizes.We haven’t moved with DS, but we’ve had lots of practice with all kinds of transitions and this is what I’ve figured out so far:
    *Walking through the details of what will happen and when (as much as we know) really helps. For DS the best way to do this has been to give him the first walk through anywhere from 15 minutes – a few days before it will happen (depending on what kind of transition).
    Then I’ll remind him 1-3 more times about what will happen. Sometimes he’ll have questions and we’ll talk through it. Not often though at his age.
    More likely he’ll repeat what I’ve been saying. I’ve pretty much figured out that the more he repeats it, the more stressed (or excited! or both!) he is about what’s going to happen. We just keep talking through it and if I can see that he is winding him self up / spinning out of control, I try to change the subject and get him to think about something else for a bit.
    Or I’ll probe for more info asking if specific things are worrying him. If I’m right, he tells me and just my saying it out loud seems to alleviate a lot of his anxiety about whatever it is. I don’t always have to have a solution.
    *We’ve also found that hyping things up too much can backfire too. He gets too overstimulated about the thought of the exciting thing that’s going to happen and can’t relax. So, essentially finding the right balance between talking something up and downplaying it. I imagine that where to draw the line is different for each kid. This definitely took some practice.
    *Giving DS an out for any new and strange situations, so that he can adjust at his own pace helps.
    So, ex., daycare added some splash pools to the play area a few weeks ago. DS didn’t like the splashing, so he didn’t want to go to daycare (took a while for me to figure out that was the issue). We walked through it and he agreed that we would talk to his teacher together to tell her he didn’t like the splashing. And that if it got too much, he would play in another area of the yard. I also explained it from the other kids’ perspectives in that they weren’t splashing to be mean, that some kids like to do that for fun (i.e. this is something we cannot change, but you can remove yourself if it gets too much).
    *As @B ,mentioned, try to keep as much of the usual schedule/routine in place.
    *Everything always goes better when I’m in a calm and positive mood myself. That being said, sometimes I’m better at this and sometimes I suck. In those sucky moments it’s just trying to make out as best we can and I work through it myself to a point where I can be calm and more positive. Time helps.
    —————————————–
    The one thing I always remind myself when I’m moving is that the period between when the old place is packed up and the new one is not yet moved in to or unpacked is the hardest part (duh, the transition, well, the physical part anyhow). I always feel so alienated and adrift. I don’t have the comfort of the old place, nor have you started to experience the excitement of the new place. I’ve caught myself thinking things like ‘Oh no! I’m going to miss my corner store.’ in those moments. And I think there’s always a tiny part of me that worries ‘Oh no! What if I’ve just made a terrible mistake.’, even if I know it’s a good thing.
    I think if we ever move with DS I’ll take lots of pictures of our condo, the neighbourhood, etc. as well as the people in our lives. There’s something about having a good record of (one of) the places you grew up.

  11. My kids are younger than yours, but I thought of something that might help your youngest. Really emphasize that you are taking all his stuff to the new house. My girl was really stressed about the new house till we told her very explicitly that ALL of her stuff would come with us and that she could play with it all at once after we got unpacked.

  12. We moved when my older daughter was almost 4 and again (local move) when she was closer to 5.We found books about moving to be a good starting point. For a preschooler, we liked the Berenstain Bears Moving Day. For an older child, there are plenty of books where the protagonist has recently moved- the titles escape me right now.
    We also visited special places before we moved and talked about how we wouldn’t be close enough to see so-and-so as much anymore. Her school was also very helpful with the transition. Then we talked up the new school and new things we’d be able to do as well. My kids have been thrilled to have a yard- when we lived in an urban area this was something we all missed.
    As to packing- we packed ourselves, and I did have her help me pack, particularly her own things. I also highly recommend giving each kid their own “close last, open first” box for packing the things they want to have right away (the really precious things came with us in the car, of course).

  13. Don’t underestimate how just feeling unfamiliar with the new town will feel for them – unfamiliar streets, stores, etc. And of course school. We had a much more difficult situation – my stepdaughters were taken away from their mother and sole custody given to their father and me as a result of a dangerous situation. I was surprised at how the kids seemed to focus on the unfamiliarity factor more than anything – didn’t even want to go outside and play. Visits to the ice cream parlor helped.

  14. We haven’t moved house recently, or much, so this applies more to other kinds of change (jobs, child care situations, schedules, that sort of thing). The biggest challenge for me is that I often have to remind myself that *all* change is stressful, especially for kids. This helps me set my own expectations.One thing that I like to do around transitions is play “same and different”, which my kids like anyway. This house and the old house are the same because they both have two stories. This house and the old house are different because this one has more bedrooms. All this inevitably leads to some discussions about which changes we’re enjoying and why, but it’s somehow easier than starting with that. My daughter is the ultimate extrovert, who must verbalize *everything* in order to process it, so this is especially helpful to her.
    I like the notion of not obsessing over change, too, but with a slightly different spin. What I work on is not obsessing over the feelings that are associated with change. So yeah, the feelings are there — I miss my teacher and I’m sad that I won’t see Friend A anymore, since she’s moving over the summer — but feelings are just feelings. All of them — happy, sad, scared, anxious, confused, frustrated, silly — are part of life every day, but they don’t need to be the center of your every thought and action. (This is a struggle for me: I tend to think that if I’m angry, something Must. Be. Done, where it serves me better to just sit with angry and see what comes along an hour from now. I want my kids to know how to feel their feelings without stuffing them away, but also how to live life without letting their feelings take over. I don’t know if that makes sense.)
    The other thing I like to do, that works well with my kids at least, is to remind them that one thing that’s *not* changing, that will never change, is that I love them and am there for them. I say at least once a day to each kid (transition period or not) that even if they don’t know what they need, they can always ask for a hug. You never know, I figure. Might help, can’t hurt, you know?

  15. I found it was helpful with a preschool-kindergarten age child, at least, to have her pack her own box or backpack of precious stuff, and to move that “under her eye”. The movers came while she was at daycare, but that morning, we took her precious box and put it in the trunk of my car, the same car I took her to daycare in and picked her up in, so the movers never had possession of that one. We brought it out of the car when we came home from daycare and put it in her new room immediately, so she could really see that it couldn’t be lost.

  16. I grew up in the military and we moved all the time. I remember being sad to leave friends, but once we got to the new place, everything was always fine. Kids are so resilient! They will probably surprise you by how well they do!

  17. We’ve moved so many times; my 3 year old has lived in 3 different states, and my 7 year old in 4. At this point, moving doesn’t bother them — they know the drill.Here’s what’s worked for us: letting them pack their bookbags and a tote bag with stuffed animals, toys, and books they absolutely want to keep with them. I may tuck a new (small) toy or book in there as a surprise, but the bags are for their own special things, however they define that. Everything else goes into a box with little fanfare. It’s stuff. It can be replaced.
    Setting up their beds as quickly as possible is an excellent suggestion; pack all the “now” linens in a box together and label it.
    The Hello Goodbye Window is a great picture book for feeling happy and sad at the same time. There’s a sequel about feeling angry and kind, but I can’t remember the title.
    Put together an address book of their friends’ addresses, and make sure the friends have your new address. Kids love getting & sending mail. We always send our “old” friends postcards from our new place, and everyone gets a kick out of it.
    Your kids will be fine. Sad for a bit, but fine. Don’t stress them out by worrying too much about them.

  18. The fact that you’re buying a house means, I assume, that you’re going to be staying put for a really long time (or you have not been paying attention at business school), and I think a timeline can really help with helping to adjust to a change: “By the time we move again, you will be in middle school at least.”It lets you focus not only on the change part of the change, but on the lack-of-change part of the change. Things are in a state of flux, but they will be less so. And if there is something you (the kids) don’t like about the new situation, we have time to figure out how to make it work better — our lives are not always going to be about packing boxes and finding childcare/camp/new school/new pediatrician/new friends.

  19. Our kids have moved a great deal as military kids. For us, it is easiest to frame things as another adventure. This is our regular theme….what adventure will we have this saturday? A zoo adventure? A park picnic adventure? Then the move becomes another adventure just on a bigger scale. Agree with previous posters who say set the kids room up first, it helps them to see their treasures returned as well as honesty when things do not make it. Last, because mine are 4 & 8, we instituted “family talk time” as we slow down for bedtime.This has given them a distinct chance to vocalize their problems with new schools and kids who aren’t friendly and other issues that concern them right now. We’ve been pretty good about talking to our kids, but I want to emphasize that this is a dedicated time (complete with title) when the boys have been tucked in but aren’t quite sleepy yet. Everything in the house stops for everyone to discuss what worries them now. My husband and I tell them stories about when we were kids and how we handled similar issues to what they are experiencing. It has made a massive difference in the stress level for everyone. Our kids have had to deal with a number of transitions, and I thought we’d get through this without a hiccup. However, we’ve had more challenges than expected, but we’re moving through them relatively well.

  20. @Jan, love your part about emotions. thanks. & good luck Moxie!we find out whether we’re facing a move next week, so I’m reading this all carefully. and I’ve got a sensitive, intense worrier, who has school anxiety & stresses about social stuff.

  21. i don’t really have advice since I didn’t move as a kid – but someone above mentioned that visits to Ice Cream parlors help. As an Ann Arbor native (who currently lives in Oregon), Stucci’s is good but Washtenaw Dairy is better.Congrats on the move – A2 is a great place to grow up and I’m currently enjoying a fabulous visit back home at my folks place with my girls (ages 1 & 3)

  22. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of don’t obsess / kids are resiliant … we moved from Seattle to Australia when my DD was 6. We billed it as the big adventure that it was. We didn’t do any of the above re: her room / bed / stuff because our stuff came on a container that took 3 months to get here. So, we lived in a temporary furnished flat and then moved into our house with NO FURNITURE for weeks. ALL we had was what we brought on the plane and what our new friends loaned us. My DD slept in a sleeping bag in a refrigerator box (her perogative). My point: kids typically with roll with it. I think we project our fears and obsessions and devise coping strategies that *WE* assume they need. They mostly just need to be with you and know it is all good. Unless your kids are supersensitive and really change averse, they’ll be fine. (I don’t have advice for those kids, since mine is evidently not one.) Some of the more macro decisions we made were in re: when to leave based on the school year: we left just as her friends were going back to school at the end of summer and arrived in time for us to pick her new school and go for a day to make some friends and collect phone numbers for play dates during 2 week school holidays. Then we spent those holidays visiting parks, cafes and having little adventures. We put her back in the grade she had finished (K equivalent) for 1 term so that it was easy academically and she could focus on making friends and learning the Aussie ropes.

  23. I am with TheLuckyGal. We adults obsess about every detail and we need to obsess about it. There’s not need to project that onto the kids. They do worry about things getting lost, not moving with them, when they are little. So help them pack a bag, reassure them and set their room up first if possible. It’s true. They just want to be with you, where you are. I have moved cities/states/countries with my little ones, and they are fine as long as you spend time with them. I don’t think there is any need for a 45 bullet point elaborate plan. That’s just overwhelming for little kids and it makes them more anxious about THE BIG MOVE than it needs to be.

  24. All the advice is great, I will add tht buying a book on moving house and reading about it several times with a toddler really helps…can’t really help with older kids. Going to visit the area before also helps, and taking photos of the old house and special people from your old place can help too…good luck!

  25. I agree that kids are resilient, but the littler kids might have more anxiety than an older child (a 2 or 3 year old versus a 6 or 7 year old) and then it might get more complicated for an upper elementary kid. I think it’s worthwhile to think about the distinct needs of kids in different phases. A 6 year old will have good friends, but might not be so very attached to her routine/friends/life or think of them as permanent. For a 9 or 10 year old, it could be much harder to think about starting over. Social circles might be harder to break into with older children, and they might (naturally, developmentally) have a bit more social anxiety. I’ve done a lot of moving and big transitions for my kids. They’re little, though. But I noticed once my older kind of came into the world more, he definitely got more anxious about the uncertainty of his life and moving. We could talk to him about it, but he also expressed anxiety about it. I think it’s because a 2.5-4 year old understands that something big is happening and familiar things might be disappearing,b ut they don’t really understand what’s happening, and they are afraid of being left behind. A lot of my son’s anxieties anyway, seemed to be connected to that fear. And it makes sense – if you have no sense of time and limited reasoning abilities and no control over your surroundings, it would probably be pretty scary. That said, he did really well, but we needed to be aware of what he was signaling with his constant questions about which of things would come to the new house, what was going to be left at the old house, were we going to the NEW house now, etc. We dragged the kids around a lot in the first two years and even though nothing changed in our family rhythm, I noticed the transitions and changes became much harder on #1 as he approached his second birthday. Daddy travels a lot, so he started freaking out when Daddy would leave, and then when we moved, he crawled into his car seat as his dad was packing and refused to get out for hours. I’m sure he was absolutely terrified we were going to leave without him. So we let him hang out in the car, because it made him feel better in a way that verbal reassurance didn’t.

  26. In addition to explicitly talking about the changes, I think it’s important to handle the transition indirectly, too.Extra hugs, reinforced routine, insuring good diet and enough sleep. During stressful times, a good friend reminds me to “get back to basics” – exercise, sleep, nutrition. Even though it’s not directly addressing the changes, it helps everyone’s mood, strength and resilience.
    Good luck!

  27. Lots of good tips here. Much better said than I could.I would say from experience that if you’re very much looking forward to the move and the great new life awaiting, both in terms of the good of the new and the bad of the old you cannot wait to get away from you can get an emotional back-lash after you move.
    There are always good things in the old place you will miss. Adults understand ambivalence and feeling conflicting emotions much better than children. But we all feel them.
    Pack all the familiar things, and even very young children will help pack and unpack the child/rens things first is good. Also think in terms of bringing food/ or if there’s a different branch of the same food place in the new place.
    My 3.5 year old is spirited and she transitions poorly. She’s never coped well with daddy leaving for business, and she also doesn’t travel very well even with both parents there.
    Long story but my cousin and myself are still taking turns going to our late great-aunt’s house we’re still trying to sell. We’re not having to spend whole weeks there anymore, DD and I, but we still need to go and stay.
    There’s a capsule collection of the stuff that matters most to her that she’s picked out herself. Her special pillow, toys, books, photo album she likes, bathtoys and bath non slip mat etc. etc. It’s a suitcase full but covers the waterfront emotionally. We take it on all trips.
    We also have the feather family, just coloured craft feathers she plays with as characters with mummy feather and so on that can travel in the front of her school back-pack and in other bags. They’re easily replaced. Then when we’ve arrived home or in the new place the feather family move to their home jar. One of my friends has little lego figures for her son and the other has his small stamp collection with him everywhere he travels.
    I also bring DD’s food as her dairy-free foods are easier to get in London than in the east of the country. That has the advantage of familiarity as well.
    I also stop in Cambridge along the way there as they have a branch of her favourite coffee chain. They do soy and apple juice and she loves going there every day while we’re home at the branch near us. This de-tour helps to keep her happier.
    And we stick to the same routines everywhere we go too. But her sleeping goes very down-hill even so.
    Main thing is the happier and calmer I can be myself the better I deal with that. So I’ve learned to pace myself and prepare more.

  28. I was just thinking about the summer my parents sent me to visit my Aunt and moved without telling me, they just called my Aunt the day of the move to tell me. I was 8 at the time. When I came home it was to a completely new place. My parents somehow thought it would be easier on me to do it that way but it was probably the worst thing they could have done. I started wetting the bed, something I’d never done before, and became depressed. We didn’t even move that far away, I was still in the same school. I guess what was so traumatizing was never getting to say goodbye to my old house, room, yard, block, friends, etc… I needed closure that my parents denied me. Also I hate being out of the loop. The next time we moved a few years later my parents included me in every aspect from looking at apartments to packing to picking out paint. I felt much more in control and the transition was much smoother. So I guess the takeaway is that some kids do better with transitions when they feel included in the process, at least I did.

  29. I have zero experience with this issue either as the kid or the adult so won’t attempt to write on it in the first person. I do remember having seen an article on the research in this area in the NYT, and you can find it if you search on “Does Moving a Child Create Adult Baggage.” Basically, it seems that the (a) reason for the move, the (b) personalit(ies) involved, the (c) age of the kids, and the (d) structure/approach of those in a position to control the process — i.e. the grownups — matter. Moves are difficult for some people in some circumstances. I guess I’d say I’d treat it like many other kid problems get presented on Moxie: present the information and be prepared to answer questions but don’t provide more detail than appropriate to the kid’s age and interest level.

  30. We moved about nine months ago with a then 4 and 1 year old. The thing I think it’s helpful to keep in mind is to talk about the good AND the bad, instead of just focusing on the exciting. There will be sad parts, and that’s ok, we can feel both ways. Even still, our now five-year-old brings up where we used to live and how much he misses it, so we still talk about it.Also, I think preparing oneself for the somewhat inevitable “slump” after the excitement dies away (even if the move is totally positive). It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement (especially for kids) and not to even feel the sadness later, or, just to have so much adrenaline from the move that when things finally settle there is a bit of a rebound where things seem a bit crummy for a while.

  31. this is very helpful. we’ll be moving in late August (older one will be 2 yr 10 months, younger one will be 5 months) to live with my parents for a couple of months. my son loves his grandparents so it will be nice, but his dad will be away for about 12 weeks for work, and he is definitely on the more “attached” side of the spectrum. my therapist says that the kids are likely to take their cues from us – ie if we make a big deal out of it then they will too. but i also want to be conscious of the things that will ease the transition, like making sure stuffed animals, favourite books, etc.Does anyone have experience of moving AND starting a new nursery school for younger kids? My son will be moving from 3 full days/week of nursery (with a staff:kid ratio of 1:4) to 5 full mornings of pre-K (with a staff:kid ratio of probably 1:14). It’ll be a huge change for him, and he’s definitely more of an introvert/slow to warm up to new people. Anything we should do/say to prep him for this, on top of the move and his dad going way for 12 weeks?

  32. I need to read all of this when I’m not at the end of my day!We are moving in 20 days and my 4yr old is having a hard time. She is excited when we talk about the new house but some old anxiety mechanisms have returned, poor kitten.
    I can’t wait ’till we can get past this and start loving our new place.

  33. I think one of the most important things to do is to give your kids permission (like they need it!) to hold two opposing feelings simultaneously: to recognize that they might be excited about the move and also sad about the move.And then to recognize that they probably don’t really understand what’s going on. Even if they use all the right words (we’re moving!) most young kids don’t really get it, so expect a real “moment” when they finally realize moving means never coming home.

  34. As a geographer (of the human geography sort), sense of place and the disruption of sense of place are big on my personal horizon.For moving, letting the kids have a camera for a week so they can take pictures of the things they’ll miss can be useful. You’d be surprised at the things they’ll capture, I suspect. But just the act of taking pictures seems to also be useful for some kids (granted, my family is big on that ownership thing, it might make some kids more anxious).
    I moved a number of times as a small child, and the things I missed were odd familiar things, like the flooring in the kitchen, and the way the air felt in the early morning, and the springiness of Eucalyptus leaves underfoot.
    We did a good round of goodbyes, and were able to pull out photo albums later, whenever we wanted. Acknowledging the ephemeral items we missed (the migrating butterflies, the smell and sounds, the way the air felt) and both being openly excited and a little wistful were both good.
    I still drive by or visit my major childhood house when I am in town. Knowing they can go back and look at it again at some point in the future may be useful at this age.
    Knowing there are things you won’t realize you would miss until you miss them is part of the sad to be prepared for – especially as seasons change, or annual events pass. The snow won’t be the same, the birdsongs won’t be the same (granted, maybe they won’t miss the pigeons…), the colors of the seasons won’t be the same, the parades and parties won’t be the same. A little wistful to outright ouchy is fine.
    I think my mom also tuned the words to the feelings well – she used wistful, and longing, and missing, and grieving, not just ‘sad’. She didn’t make a big deal over it, and didn’t ignore it, either – so we could tune our emotional responses to the practical without losing a sense that the feelings were valid, and so not end up either locked down or sentimental messes over everything.
    Moxie, I think your tendency to do the big discussions as an ongoing conversation is very much what my mom did. The topic was never closed, even after a decision was reached, and that made it okay to feel whatever I felt, even if the feelings wouldn’t change anything. It was okay to talk about regret, or missing old things or friends, of new discoveries and new experiences, or of culture clash (it takes six months for kids to adapt fully to a new subculture, and a year to get to full adaptation to a major culture change, on average), and so forth. (Western to Mid-Atlantic was a big head-whack in my case.)

  35. My experience with moving the summer before second grade was that she had more questions than I had answers for. At some point you just may have to say that you don’t know but you’ll definitely figure it out. Reassurance is important, but only when they’re upset about something. It really served no purpose to be reassuring over things out of the blue because I was thinking about it.We also faced a school change the next year, and I took her with me to fill out the forms. A guidance counselor was working that day (ie prior to the start of the school year) and asked me she could take my child on a tour. It helped A LOT to get that private, exciting tour. We still attended School Year’s Eve, but she got a lot more out of the private tour since it was so personalized. I highly recommend it if you can work it out.
    Finally, do your best despite the moving workload to get them out of the house and to someplace where there are kids milling about. Too much time at your side during the unpacking makes them antsy, and park/pool/playground is awesome.

  36. I don’t have kids and have only moved as a 6 month old and a 12 month old, so dont even have childhood experiences–but I wanted to add two things:1. Alexander who is Not (do you hear me I mean it!) going to move is terrific. Judith Viorst is SO good at giving kids words.
    2. I love the idea of having kids who are old enough to navigate the interwebs look up stuff to do/see/etc. Maybe a guidebook for the area, too, and they could set up places to go/things to see?

  37. We’ve moved twice since our twins were born, once when they were three and once when they were almost five. There really has been no anxiety either time. The first time the movers were late and the stuff finally started arriving at about 10pm. They slept in their double stroller while chaos went on around them. We set up their cribs (hadn’t transitioned to beds yet and purposely delayed it until after the move) and then put them in. They were fine. The second move they were more aware of but it was more excitement and fun than anything else. They loved exploring the new space. Again, we set up their beds first thing and concentrated on their room first, but other than that, it was fine. I have one who doesn’t like transitions, but it’s more like one activity to another during the day. They both seemed to weather these big changes fine. Probably because I LOVE change…I communicated nothing but excitement at the prospect of moving both times.

  38. Thanks for the positive, non-anxiety-provoking words about moving. The comments on the NYT article were as (more?) interesting than the article, BTW. I hope for my daughter that she can see life as an adventure. Change is hard for me — is it because I lived in the same house in the same small town my entire life? Maybe. Am I a more anxious person because my childhood was stable? Would I be EVEN MORE anxious if we’d moved a lot (unlikely). Surely life is long, big changes will usually come sooner or later, and it’s mostly about love — not place.

  39. It sounds like you have great communication and emotional awareness, and that will really help your kids. My son is younger, and we have not yet managed such large transitions (full-time daycare was a big one). I talk about it in advance a lot. With your kids, you can probably help them to make a list of things they want to do in NYC before you leave, people they want to have special “goodbyes” with, and generally helping them be intentional and mindful about leaving.I also find that it seems to help us all (son, myself, partner) to be OK with sad and painful feelings without feeling like I have to fix them, or without my son feeling like he needs to put on a happy face. I have the feeling it helps us both when I can say, “I know this sucks for you right now. I wish it didn’t, but it does, and I can see that.”
    Good luck.

  40. Ah, this is so very much the topic I’ve been looking for (thanks, Moxie)! We’re moving as well, in about six weeks. What makes our move feel different (to me, at least, who has been reading away at these responses and discussions elsewhere), is that we’re moving out of the only home our 3 year old remembers, into a furnished apt in another state that we’ve never seen. So none of our furniture will be going, other than some small pieces we can hang on the walls (although even that is limited by strict housing rules).On top of that, our little guy will have his own room — and his own bed — for the first time in his life. Or so I hope. Because…
    … six weeks or so after we arrive, we’re having another baby. So he’ll also be getting used to a new sibling.
    And starting a new school.
    The thought of all this can make me loony. But the I remember how important it is to stay upbeat and matter of fact with the kiddo, and we’ve been doing, I think, a reasonably good job of that so far. But how much to talk about these things? How to prepare him for not only a new place (that none of us have seen and which will have none of our stuff in it), but a new sleeping arrangement, and a new school, and a baby brother?!?!?
    Sharon @ Proactive Parenting gave me some great advice already — particularly about remaining upbeat. I’d love to hear any one else’s thoughts – particularly since the usual suggestions (set up kid’s room first, etc.) are, well, different in this case. I’ve already planned to buy special sheets and wall decor for that room, but what else can I do?!?
    Thanks, Moxites!

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  43. W tym zeszlym trafu sytuacja jest przejrzysta – wystarczy utrwalic sie w serwie, wykonac niezbednych weryfikacji i „zalozyc” licytacje.Pozyteczne sa wewnatrz owo pozyczki pozabankowe. Pod spodem tym haslem odkrywam wierzytelnosci proponowane przez fabryk pozyczkowe (tzw. parabanki).
    Jednostce pozyczkowe nikogo acz nie klamia, wszelako prawdziwoscia istnieje, iz ich dzialalnie moze stymulowac kontrowersje.
    Everyman pula w bez tematu udzieli go fabryka podczas gdy a postacia niepoufnym.
    Cudza sytuacja, ze ciz pozyczki spolecznosciowe, pomimo niepomiernie przyciagajacej wartosci (blisko 20% w podzialce roku), w wprawy nie wypatruja no tak roznobarwnie gdy mogloby sie zdradzac.
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  44. Kredyt w celu dowolnegoImponujacym ujeciem dla zadluzonych jest plus skonsolidowanie swoich zlecen w jakis zadluzenie – zadluzenie konsolidacyjny.
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    chwilówka
    http://openpublic.eea.uprm.edu/idea-site/debety-szalencze-pozyczki-pozabankowe

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