There’s no denying that a long-distance move is a stressful endeavor. As an adult, you feel the whole weight of that stress as you start to plan, pack, make arrangements to leave your hometown, start a new job, enroll the kids into a new school…the list goes on. And speaking of children, you’re also faced with the task of breaking the news to them.
Those dreaded three words, “we are moving,” can be hard to say when you’re running through all the scenarios of how that scene is going to play out. Crying, screaming, shouting, and the refusal to move is the last thing you want to see from your children; when they’re upset, you are too! It’s not always easy for your child to understand why they have to move away from their friends, but there are ways to help them feel excited about what’s ahead. If you’re getting to tell your kids about your upcoming long-distance move, don’t fret! We’ve got some ideas about how to do so gently.
When You’re Excited, They’re Excited
You, more than anyone, know how to address your child with big announcements and news. As a parent, you’re the one constant in your child’s life that they can rely on and trust. When kids are uncertain of something, they often look to their parents for guidance on how to react, respond, and what to feel. When you show your child that you’re excited about the long-distance move ahead, they may find it easier to share those same sentiments.
Don’t choose to tell your children about the move when you’re at peak stress levels because they might catch onto that. Wait for the moment when you’ve gotten everything sorted and under control (that time will come!).
Life’s an Adventure
Another way to help your kids feel excited about the move is to craft the news into an exciting adventure story. Sure, your child might find it hard to move away from their best friend next-door, but there’s hardly ever a time when a kid doesn’t want to go exploring! Even teenagers can be swayed at the prospect of new experiences and people to meet, so no matter how old your child is, this is a tactic that can be helpful when breaking the moving news.
Make the Most of Memories
It can be hard for all of us, but especially kids, to say goodbye to everything they’ve know for a long period of time. When you’re an adult, you have the ability to reconnect and visit old friends if that’s your priority. Even teenagers have some power to reach out via social media and texting, but children often are the first to lose touch with friends they’ve made at young ages. And while this quickly becomes a problem of the past (children seem to make new friends fast), it can be hard to say goodbye when you’re young.
This is a time for parents to help their child make memories, take pictures, and exchange contact information to help kids keep in touch with their friends. You may befriend other parents on social media to help your kid stay in-touch or allow your child to write letters to old friends until they’re old enough to have social media. We’re lucky to live in a time when we can stay connected to people through a digital screen!
Telling your children about a long-distance move can feel like a looming presence is lurking over you, especially if your child is sensitive to change. If that’s the case, we hope these suggestions give you an idea of how to frame the news as something exciting that your child “gets to do” rather than has to do. And as always, we want to be here to make your long-distance move as easy as possible. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!