A change in routine and lifestyle can bring about fear and anxiety in children, especially if they are not fully prepared for what is about to happen.
However, moving can be a positive experience if parents keep childrens’ anxiety levels as low as possible, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive Re/Max of Southern Africa.
“If the move is due to the family upgrading to a larger home or better neighbourhood, there will be less emotional upheaval than if the reason is a loss of income or the loss of a family member.
“If a family is downgrading, children will often pick up the stress felt by the parents. Parents will have to approach the move cautiously to ensure their child’s emotional wellbeing.”
Re/Max shares tips to make the transition easier for children:
Leading up to the move
Children will have a higher level of anxiety if they are not fully aware of the details. Parents should make them aware of the move as early as possible to give them time to get used to the idea. Children might think moving will mean leaving their favourite things behind, so parents should ensure children know toys and pets are coming along. Parents can also emphasise aspects that will not change, such as play schedules.
During the moving process
Allow children to say goodbye to neighbours, friends and favourite local places. Remind them that they can visit those friends or places in the future. Depending on the age of the child, get them involved in the moving process so they feel included in the change.
In the new home
Setting up the children’s bedroom first will establish an area that is familiar and safe. Of course, it will take time to adjust to the new surroundings. Get children excited by taking them around the new area and exploring nearby parks and shops. Getting plugged into the community will help make it feel like home.