The Talk: Age-by-Age, Moving
Moving and Your School-Ager
By Laura Betts, LICSW, MSW
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School age children settle into a school routine quickly and are connected to the school they attend. They are focused on gaining skills and becoming competent in many areas, which increases their self esteem as they get the message that they can master various tasks. Change in school is a significant transition for children. Provide reassurance about managing the change by keeping the tone positive, but allowing space for worries and a range of feelings.
Consider getting them involved in activity based community programs when you move to a new area. Give them simple ways to be involved in the move – helping pack their room, setting things up in the new home, and having a consistent chore (feeding the dog).
Here are some talking points that you can address with your child about this new stage in his or her life:
Your dad and I have decided that our family is going to move to a new house in a new town. I got a new job and to work there we need to buy a new house. Here is a picture of where we will live. You, dad, and I will move together in a big truck that will be full of all of our stuff.
I made a calendar and here is the day we are going to move; you can help me countdown the days. I am going to miss this house and a lot of people here, but am excited about our new house and there is a park nearby that looks like a lot of fun. How do you feel about moving?
• Have a goodbye day with those significant to your child. Collect contact information for them, so that your child can keep in touch. Make cards, drawings, etc…
• Talk about things that you will continue to do together in your new home, so that your child won’t feel as if his or her world is being turned upside down. Go visit their new school and other places that they will like.
• Help your children name and express their feelings and concerns related to the move. Write all of this down in a special book, so that when, and if, you move again, you can reference this experience.