Settling kids in a new environment
How to deal with kids during Relocation
With the onset of summer vacations, comes a time for relocation for many professionals. While the organisations do cover up for all the tangible expenses involved in this change of place; there are a lot of intangible effects on the families involved that remain unaccounted for. The change of place, leaving the old friends & neighbours, moving to a new school, a new house, new lanes, new routines and new cities are just a few of them that sets in an anxious tones in the minds of kids and adults alike.
Change however is the constant factor in our lives & embracing the change, rolling along with it is one of the very essential life skills in kids & adults alike. When people are informed of a change, there are always doubts, chaos and confusion about its meaning and its far-reaching effects. For example, when demonetization was introduced in India in 2016, people clamoured to the banks and ATMs fearing the worst and setting their imaginations run wild.
Coping with this big change are the kids who already have an unsaid attachment to set routines and familiar activities in life. Relocation is one such change that pertains to an alteration in one’s place of residence.
Now the question remains, how to deal with kids in a scenario when the change(Relocation) is inevitable and uncomfortable.
Since change is a necessary part of living; we as parents need to stress the importance change and inculcate appropriate and change embracing Life skills in kids. Relocation to a new place presents a plethora of wonderful oppurtunities like growing your friend circle, travel and experience different cultures and places and meet diverse kinds of people. Also to add it does challenge our social skills and our attiutude towards change, adaptability & flexibility.
Uprooting our kids from a place where they are growing up to helping them settle down in a completely new environment needs to be done in a planned manner and handled with great maturity. Communicating and Listening would form the fundamental platform to making the change seem seamless & comfortable. Here’s a guide on how to deal with your kids during relocation, especially if you are someone who believes in taking regular transfers to new places or moves jobs to travel to different locations quite frequently.
How to Deal with kids in the middle of the change(Relocation):
1. Prepare them – the first and the most important step. When handled properly this can help alleviate the stress of most kids.
- Toddlers can be informed a month prior. Inform them gently, making them understand the entire concept, things that move with you, especially their stuff that definitely moves with them.
- Tweens – inform them in advance so that they get substantial time to part with friends, teachers etc. Let them help you in the packing-unpacking regime. Keep them involved.
- Teens – inform them as much in advance as possible giving them the time to mentally prepare for the shift. Be present and available for their queries and involve them in decisions pertaining to the move. Take them over to the new place in advance to see the new house, tour the neighbourhood, discuss with their choice of school etc.
2. Anticipate & Be prepared to face reactions – be it anger or sadness
True for all ages; the smaller ones may end up throwing tantrums; bigger ones might end up being unsupportive. Be compassionate and understanding. Remember while the younger ones will stop grieving after few months, the older ones could take more time to adjust to the newer surroundings.
3. Be positive yourself and your kids will follow in your footsteps.
Especially the toddlers and the tweens. The teenager might need more counselling. Give them control – let them decide what they want in their new room, what they want to take with them, let them pack their belongings themselves, let them go for the farewell party and bid goodbyes their way.
4. Minimise the immediate change for them.
Try to make minimal changes to the child’s daily routine and have their room setup before anything else at the new house. All this in order to make them comfortable and let them feel safe. With familiar things around, they will calm down faster. Especially for the younger ones.
5. Use technology to stay in touch.
Use modern technology to enable kids to stay in touch with their old friends and loved ones. Using smartphones and laptops, Skype calls, social media interactions, the teenager can remain well-connected with his friends. The younger ones may soon forget but using emails and sharing photos the tweens can also be in touch with each other.
6. Be an enabler to develop new bonds.
One very effective method of enabling kids settle down faster and easily, especially the toddlers and the tweens, is to organise some fun-related activities at the new place after arrival. In fact few neighbourhood kids could also be invited over to let them start bonding with your children.Organizing play dates, movie dates at your new house can help your kids make new friends & develop their social skills further.
7. Be available at the new place.
Take some time off from your official and professional engagements after arrival to let your kids settle down smoothly. With your presence around they will start accepting the new place and life faster and more easily.