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Moving: Help Your Child Adjust


Most children will move at least once during their childhood. While moving can often be exciting, it can also mean leaving a familiar home, school, and neighborhood, and saying good-bye to best friends and schoolmates. Through a child's eyes, even a short-distance move can be hard to accept.

The following hints will help ease the transition.

  1. Involve your child in the move as much as possible.

    As tempting as it may be to send your child off to grandma's while you deal with all the details, reconsider! Your child gains control over the scary unknown by helping with move-related activities. For example, have your child pack and label a box of favorite belongings. Let them open the box as soon as you arrive in the new home. Pack your child’s things late in the moving process. Set up your child’s room first. Spending the night in their own bed helps children feel more comfortable.

  2. Familiarize your child with the community before you move.

    Distance permitting, drive to your new home and neighborhood a few times prior to relocating. Subscribe to a local newspaper. Call the Chamber of Commerce for pamphlets about your new community. Make a video or start a scrapbook with pictures of your new home, yard, child's room, school, and playground. Visit the new school and meet the teacher before the first day of school.

  3. Hold on to some links to the past.

    Help your child create a special address book for his friends. Encourage your child to write or send cards to old playmates. Arrange periodic calls or visits.

  4. Read books together on how other children have coped with moving.

    Some moving companies have special pamphlets and coloring books for children.

  5. Talk over family feelings about the move.

    Openly talk about feelings of sadness and hesitation as well as what is good about the move. Ask what worries and also what excites your child most about moving. Stress that it will take a while to adjust to the new surroundings and feel settled again. Emphasize the support and security of the family itself.

  6. Once relocated, join the new neighborhood.

    Get to know parents with children the same age as your child. Join a family-oriented community center. If your child is interested, join a scouting group or other neighborhood activity. Explore museums, amusement parks, or other fun places. Search out music, sports, or dance opportunities. Look for ways to help your child to feel comfortable and accepted. Encourage your child to bring new friends home.


Written by Donna Warner Manczak, PhD, MPH.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-01-30
Last reviewed: 2010-05-27

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.

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