Helping your children adjust when you're reposted
30th April 2016
Moving to a new posting?
To some, the thought of moving around frequently as child seems exciting and filled with adventure. You’d like to think there'd be no qualms in finding a new home to explore every few years... or even months. However, this isn't always the case. As parents or guardians, you play a big role in how well your children can adjust to the un-settlement that comes with being reposted. Don’t get us wrong, those exciting bits we mentioned still ring true but it’s getting to that point that might require a little extra help.
Before you go
Uprooting and moving the whole family is a challenging prospect for everyone involved; especially those who find out after the decision has been made. Getting to know some of the problems your kids might face now will help you to understand how they're feeling when the time comes. Perhaps you've already moved, in which case you may have noticed they’re not their usual selves. Getting to know your children is the best way to understand them, you should try and see the world through their eyes in both good and bad situations.
Try bringing them in on any further decision-making after you've told them about the upcoming move. You could try letting them pick their new school or choosing their new bedroom – don’t forget the all-important glow in the dark wall stickers!
Learn about your new home by reading up on the local area; show them what fun things this new place has to offer! If you’re moving somewhere with a new culture, do some researching as a family on your destination. Are there any new customs they’ll need to be familiar with?
If necessary, learn the local lingo. When moving abroad language barriers can be a major contributing factor to how well your children adjust to their turf. Why not try dedicating some family time to learning the local tongue?
Packing together will keep things familiar to them when they arrive at their new home. Let them choose their top toys to travel with, and be sure that the first thing to unpack is the comfy bedding! Get cosy on the sofa with a takeaway and favourite family film to get everyone feeling relaxed and at home.
Taking time to listen
With all the busyness and stress that comes with moving, you might not have noticed the kids struggling to settle into their school or finding it difficult to make new friends.
Unfortunately, all of the hustle bustle of a freshly moved household can sometimes leave them feeling lonely; you could describe this as a “mourning period" for the friends they've had to leave behind. So it’s important to take some time out, catch up with them one-to-one and let them share with you how they’re feeling. You could do this on your morning or afternoon runs to and from school, in the evening after the family has settled, or take them out for a small treat at the weekend. Some parents might get worried about what their kids might have to say but it won’t necessarily be all doom and gloom. They might dig the new house and their new school, but aren't that crazy about their latest classmate giving them a hard time.
Encourage socialising and extra-curricular activities
Find something for them to get excited about - for example getting involved with local sports/music/drama/gaming clubs. By letting your kids try a few different activities, they can settle where they feel comfortable whilst making their own choices. They might end up stopping one and taking up another, or there might be times when they don’t feel like going. Keep positive and encouraging but let them take the reins on their own hobbies.
Celebrate all the good stuff!
It may take time but your children will eventually settle in and begin to enjoy their new home, and hopefully these tips will make the transition even easier! Our final top tip is to celebrate the positives that being reposted can bring.
Learning to explore, gaining independence and an appreciation of other cultures are just a few of the ways being reposted can enrich your children’s life experiences. Whether it’s just this once or moving from post to post is a regular part of family life, if handled and encouraged in the right way, your children can settle in happily and also gain bonus experience.
Keep family night on going. It’s important to celebrate the togetherness moving home can encourage. Whether you choose to do so with a movie night-in or a day outdoors. It’s all about bringing the clan together for some family bonding time… even if it does escalate into a full-scale popcorn fight!
To the head honcho…
With the additional weight of responsibility for your child you might find making a move more difficult but, seeing your children settle can help you to feel comfortable as well. As the old saying goes: home is where the heart is. You've already done the hard work becoming a parent so you've got all you need to make this move work.