Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Helping an anti-change child deal with the moving blues

Last month, my husband and I sold our house and moved. We’ve certainly done that before, but moving with children is just a whole other animal – especially when one of them doesn’t like change.

My 5-year-old son Max isn’t a big fan of ‘different’ things. We have learned through the years that if you’re going to spring a big change on him, to do it systematically. Below are a few things we did to help ease the pain of the move for Max and for our 21-month-old, Jack. If you’re planning a move anytime soon, I hope it helps!

  •  Let them be involved. Instead of packing Max’s room, we let him pack it (kind of). We dedicated several hours one Saturday to letting him get a box from the garage, pack as many toys as would fit and then tape it up. The best part? He got to use a marker to label the box! And to him, that was a pretty big deal.
  • Make paper bowls and a card table fun. Once the dishes and the dining room table was packed and we were just a day or so away from moving, we set up a card table in the dining room and told Max he could pick which chair he wanted to sit in and if he wanted to eat off a paper bowl or a paper plate – I’m still not sure why, but he thought it was the coolest thing ever to pick where he wanted to sit and as a side note, Jack had a blast with the paper bowl once he was finished with his breakfast. Everybody wins.
  • Make it all a game. You know those mid-move days where half of your stuff is packed and you can’t really find anything you’re looking for because your house looks like you threw some crazy big party the night before and no one cleaned up? Turns out, you can turn those days into a great game of “Let’s find the matching socks!” If we couldn’t find something mid-move, we turned it into a game, telling Max the first one to find it (most of the time it seemed to be the remote control) would win the game. And boy, kids do love to ‘win.’ Even as an adult it’s easy to get frustrated when you can’t find stuff because half of your life is packed, but when you get frustrated and show it, the kids seem to be the first ones to pick up on it. Make it a game and at least pretend like it’s one you like to play J
  • Be prepared for tears. Moving is hard on little ones and when the rooms are empty and the moving trucks are full, it can seem pretty overwhelming on them. Just be prepared, give them something else to concentrate on like where you’re moving to and what will be at the new house. And you might throw in a hug or two – those never hurt!

Aleshia Howe is a Senior Communications Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mom to two boys.

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