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By YEET MAGAZINE | Updated 0200 GMT (1000 HKT) June 2,  2022

Children and moving

Moving is often a source of stress for the whole family. This change can be difficult for a young child, because he does not always understand the reasons for the move.He is Nevertheless  possible  prepare your toddler to reduce stressof a move.

Why moving can be stressful for a child?

Moving is quite a change for a toddler. There is a lot of new and unknown in this project, which can stress a child. Here's what may be worrying your little one:

  • He does not understand what is happening (eg why the family is moving) and what is coming.
  • He is sad to leave the environment and the people he knows: his house, his room, his daycare and his friends.
  • Your child is worried about the situation that prompts you to move. For example, a separation , the arrival of a new baby or a change of job for one of the parents.
  • He feels stressed because you yourself are stressed about the move. You may also be exhausted or impatient with all the preparations, and therefore less available for your child.
  • Your little one has a hard time imagining themselves living anywhere else, especially if they've lived in the same place since birth. Since his brain is not yet fully developed, it is difficult for him to imagine an abstract concept like living in another house or another city. It is therefore normal that this worries him.
  • He loses his usual bearings by changing environment. In the new home, for example, rooms and objects are no longer in the same place, there may be new furniture, the smell is different and, outside, the landscape has changed.
  • Your child may find it difficult to adapt to the changes brought about by the move. For example, he misses his grandmother, because she doesn't live nearby anymore and he doesn't see her as often as before.

How to prepare your child for a move?

It's normal for your little one to be sad to say goodbye to places and people that were part of their life and to have a few worries. Will he like his new room? Will his new educator be as nice as the old one? Will dad still pick him up at daycare ? See how you can help your toddler navigate this big change:

  • Plan and organize your move as much as possible. You will feel more in control, less stressed and it will make your child experience less stress.
  • Talk about moving  a few days beforethat your child sees concrete changes. Byexample,before a visit tonext accommodation,beforeboxes begin to pile up in a room ora few days beforeI'has“For Sale” poster is placedin front of the house.
  • tellyourtinywhat awaits him. Explain to him why you are moving. Then ask him what he thinks about it and share your own feelings with him. For example, you can say to him: “I too am sad to leave our house. On the other hand, I can't wait to go play with you at the  Park in our new neighborhood. If you moved away as a child, tell him how things went for you. Also talk to him about moving day so he knows a little about what to expect.Your reassuring attitude will help your child look at the move in a positive way.
  • Invite him to ask his questions   about how things will turn out and what worries him.
  • Play “moving house” with your toddler  with boxes and a toy truck. Playing helps her explore the emotions caused by this big change (eg sadness, fear, excitement). This can then encourage him to tell you about it.
  • Read him booksare talking about moving.   He will then see that other people experience the same thing as him and share his emotions. It's also a good idea to read a few stories on the subject before telling him that he himself will move. This will give himan idea andmaybe even a visionpositivemoving.
  • Visit your future accommodation and its surroundings with him,if possible. It's also a good idea to show him around his future childcare service. This allows him to begin to tame his new environment and reduce his fears. Take the opportunity to point out that many things will not change even if some will be different.
  • Encourage your child to participate in the preparationsmoving (e.g. putting toys in a box). He will feel more in control. This is also a good time to prepare a box with memorabilia from the old house, such as photos or things he cares about.
  • Try, despite the unexpected, to keep your  routines (meals, bath and bedtime) as stable as possible. These familiar cues are comforting and will help your toddler navigate the transition more easily. It's also best to wait until later to wean your toddler or start potty training .
  • How to prepare a baby?
    A child under the age of 2 may also experience stress from a move, especially if you are stressed by the event. However, some of your gestures can reassure your baby. For example, take a few slow, deep breaths before hugging him. This way, your baby will feel your stress less. If possible, keep the same bedding for your baby's new room. The familiar smell of his sheets and blankets will reassure him. If you need to change her bedding, buy it ahead of time so she has time to soak up the family scent. Maintain your baby's routines; this is what brings him the most security. If you are babysitting him during preparations and on moving day, hire someone your baby knows well.

Getting organized on moving day

  • Donekeep your child to facilitate this day  where you won't have a minute to yourself. Be aware, however, that it may be useful for him to witness part of the move (e.g. see the old accommodation empty or the new one fill up), because that is probably when he will realize what is happening. really. He may be afraid of losing his things and even try to open the boxes to get his toys back. Reassure your child by telling him that he will find all his belongings in the new accommodation.
  • Remind   tell your child how the day will go,the day before or the morning of the move. tell himwith whomhe will beand where heIra. Also explain to himwhat you will dozin the meantimeandprecisezhim whenyouwill you meet.Do not hesitate to call him a few times during the day totell himor youinandare in the move.
  • Preparedza family bag containing the essentials for the day : clothes for everyone, snacks , your little one's favorite comforter and toys, toilet paper, soap, towels, first aid kit.
  • Make your child's room a priority, so that he quickly finds his toys, his stuffed animals, the smell of his comforter, etc. It is best to keep the same furniture and the same kind of decoration as in your toddler's old room as much as possible so that he can keep as much reference as possible. If this is not possible, let your child know that some furniture will change.

Helping your child adjust after the move

  • Be patient and listen  even if you have a lot to do. Your toddler needs time to mourn his old home. Your child is necessarily affected by the move, especially if it is associated with separation or job loss. Help him put his feelings into words.
  • Temporarily lower your demands on your toddler, as it may take several weeks for it to fully adapt. He may then be more demanding, wake up more often at night, have a stomach ache, or start wetting the bed again . Each child has their own way of reacting. These reactions will go away on their own when he feels safe.
  • Maintain a stable routine as much as possible.It reassures your child and helps him get used to his new environment.
  • Play with him in your new apartment or your new house so that your little one discovers his new environment in fun.
  • Visit your new neighborhood with your child and do enjoyable activities together (eg, play in the park , go to the swimming pool or the library ). This allows your toddler to quickly associate the move with positive things.
  • Try to make the changes little by little. For example, it may be difficult for a toddler to move on Saturday and go to a new daycare the following Monday. If possible, wait a week after the move before bringing your child to their new daycare. If his custody environment remains the same, there is no problem, because it is already a safe place.

Important to remember

Moving is a stressful event for a child because of the many changes it brings to their life.

  • Telling your child what to expect, inviting them to ask questions, and touring the new home and its surroundings helps them prepare for the move.
  • Even if your toddler is in care, it's a good idea for them to watch part of the move when the day comes to better understand what's going on.

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