I am actually preparing to move out of California, the only state I or any of my children have lived in, and I don’t know who’s having a harder time with it, me or the kids. I grew up in Southern California, lived in the same house I grew up in until I got married and have only really moved once in my life. I tired living on my own a few times out of high school, but I always ended up in the comforts of home.
Now I am faced with moving to a new state, where my husband is relocating his business. It’s scary, it’s fascinating, and exciting all rolled up into one. I thought it was a pretty big deal when I moved from my childhood home to where I live now (about 90 miles away), but I always knew that if I needed anything my friends were still close, and my family wasn’t too far either. This move is a biggee, and in the process of finding ways to calm myself, I have actually found ways to calm the children as well.
• Make it an adventure: When I first told the kids we were packing up and heading north, they didn’t really know what to think. After all, their friends were here, their home was here, and their family was here. I started talking to them about it like it would be an adventure, we had a chance to meet new people, we could literally reinvent ourselves, and we had a chance to go somewhere where everything was new and worth exploring.
• Let them know how you’re feeling: I’m not encouraging you to let your children see you wallowing in fear, but listening to their concerns, and letting them know that you have some of the same concerns (you too are going to have to make new friends, you too are going to have to learn a new town), and by letting them know that you’re in this together, only solidifies the bond of family.
• Do a blow-out night with their friends: For my ten and eight year old, I am going to pick a night where I go out (with another Mom) and “kidnap” their friends, with permission of course. We have also obtained permission from my son’s teacher (who the whole group has actually had at one time or another) to TP her house and another teacher is going along to help. At some point, we’ll get “caught” and everybody will clean up the mess (no harm, no foul) and then we’ll head back for a slumber party complete with root beer floats, popcorn and movies. They’ll never forget it!
• Let your kids know how to keep in touch: E-mail’s great, if you let your kids use the computer, but I am still having a really hard time with letting either of my children use an instant messenger. I think they’re still too young, and email can be easily monitored. What we’ve thought of though, is having a journal that each child can write in, send to the next one, and the next until it eventually makes it’s way full circle. That and letter writing, will not only keep some old fashioned communication open, but will let your kids know that they’re still in touch with their friends.
In spite of my fears, I am really excited about moving and starting a new life. That is something I share with my children, that this is a really exciting time, and it’s going to be great. What suggestions do you have?