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Help Kids Cope With the Stress of Moving
Filed under: Places To Go, Behavior: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Behavior: Big Kids, Activities: Big Kids, Social & Emotional Growth: Tweens, Activities: Tweens, Social & Emotional Growth: Teens, Behavior: Teens, Activities: Teens, Activities: Family Time, Development Health, Family Time
Moving. The word can send shivers down the spine of even the most organized parent.
But what about your kids? As rough as it is on you, it might be even worse for them. Leaving friends behind, starting over at a new school and all those weird noises the new house makes at night? What to do?
Susan Stiffelman, ParentDish's own Advice Mama, thinks much of the burden falls on the parents.
"A child's ability to cope with the disruption and adjustment that a move requires [is tied to] their parent's stress level," she says. "Ultimately, [parents] are the anchor for a child."
So, what can mom and dad do to lower their own stress levels, and thereby their kids' stress, as well?
"[Children] are remarkably adaptable," Stiffelman says. "Parents [should] validate the child's distress and upset, allowing them to give voice to their feelings without rushing to point out the positive aspects of the new house."
Parents need to "let their kids be sad, worried and angry about moving without rushing to 'fix' their negative feelings" about the move, she says.
But enough about the kids. What about the parents? Stiffelman says grownups need to take care of their own needs as well: Give yourself enough time to pack, take time to rest when needed and, above all, be "realistic" about the process. That way you can be there to support your children when they need you.
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