Debbie Innocenti, MA, ABR, SRES
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
44 Franklin Avenue, Suite 4
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
(201) 213-3715 cell
(862) 345-1558 fax
Child Woes And Worries When Moving
For adults, a change of residency or moving scores at only 20 on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, which is a list of 43 stressful life events that can contribute to illness. However, when you compare this to children or adolescent’s reactions, the reach may be much deeper based on the
child/young adult's developmental age. A move close to a period of significant milestones can be more stressful, as children are already grappling with physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. Obviously it’s difficult to plan a move based upon developmental stages, but it is extremely helpful to plan ahead logistically.
As a realtor I always suggest my clients tour the town they are moving
to and begin to make connections months or weeks in advance. In Ridgewood NJ where I reside, we have numerous programs and activities for kids of all ages. There is the library system, a recreation department which covers sports, a pool, community youth center and summer day camp for toddlers and pre-school kids. Visiting these departments helps new parents and their
children explore the opportunities available in the town. We also have a Facebook page where new and established parents can connect share valuable tips and facts.
Many towns have great websites and online resources. Take advantage of this easy way to get started on the transition to a new community. It is also essential to connect with the school district in advance once you are under contract or even in the beginning stages of looking. Each school has unique qualities and you may decide to choose a school which best fits your child’s needs.
For grammar and middle school children, connect with the school district in advance and request a tour of the schools. For pre-school children, attend the many frequent 'Open Houses' they offer for new families. The same is helpful
for teens that will be transitioning into a high school. Reach out to the Principal and Guidance offices and gather facts and elicit advice from them about how they assist new students. Many provide peer support.
There are also concrete things to do. Involve your children in the process from the start. As I mentioned, at each developmental leve,l there will be different approaches on how best to help your kids transition out of what could be there beloved home and neighborhood. Give them as much information as possible. Talk them through their fears. Let toddlers help pack and act out
the process. Use toys to demonstrate what the move will look like. Allow them to pack a bag for the move.
For teens, let them make decisions about the décor. Provide a lot of reassurance and help them feel connected and in control. Understand your teen may have the tougher time than all of your family. They will be dealing with a lot of loss and anger. If necessary consult with the new school counselor, a therapist or clergy member. If possible, give them time to continue visiting old friends.
Doing so is imperative to their positive transition and yours. The fact is, moving is not easy on "the kids" but you can make it 'easier' by being "intelligent" and "responsible" about the process. In moving, children are at our mercy. Let us show mercy and wisdom in making the realities of moving as easy as possible by taking a realistic approach to all that moving involves. Let's show understanding and place them on the best road possible.
Not doing so will, basically, result in turmoil for the entire family. Avoid this by ensuring your child's transition is smooth and as seamless as possible.