Upon a recent change in life, a change of location came as well. Two kids – one young and one school-age – would be uprooted from all they knew. For the younger one, it simply meant a change in living arrangements. For my 6-year-old, it meant not only leaving the house she grew up in, but leaving her school, classmates and everything she knew.
I had given it some thought and I received some tips about making the transition easier for my daughter. I knew that I’d be better off financially moving to a new area, that I’d have family and good friends around and that life, for a lack of better words, was what you make it. I had to somehow present the good, while holding her hand through her perceived “bad.”
I asked her about her worries. She feared making new friends, what the kids at her new school would be like and what life would generally be like. I made sure to listen to her concerns, asked about what she wanted out of the move and let her make decisions for the move. Obviously some things would be beyond my control, but I had some tools at my disposal.
I got her excited about the good things to look forward to and prepared her for the change. For instance, I showed her that she had the power to make things as she wanted. I asked what activities she would want to do. She was all for miniature golf, skating, trips to the beach and several other activities. I showed her the good points about the city we’d be living in. I painted a picture of what daily life would look like: getting ready in the morning, the school schedule, weekend fun, daily playing and the like.
The second concern in regards to her feelings was that she was worried about friends. I sat down with her to address these feelings. I reassured her how loving, kind and funny she was. I told her it was normal to be nervous and reminded her of what she, and so many other kids, felt like on the first day of school. I told her that this was no different and after a few days, she would be adjusted to the new environment. I told her she would be making so many new friends and if she experienced any problems to talk with me.
Next, the transition to the new home. To allow for an easier transition, I made sure to have all of her comforts: her dream lights, blankets, toys, pictures and everything she was use to. I then let her decide where to place things in her room so that she felt a part of the process and in control of part of the change.
For the last part of the process, I surrounded her with my love and friends and family that gave her extra special attention. Grandma gave her a special garden, Nana played with her and took her out, Grandpa told her stories, Papa spoiled her and close friends took to her like family. All in all, the perceived “bad” wasn’t so bad and the good was even better.