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Post-Divorce Kid-Friendly Moving Tips

Divorce might as well be a synonym of the word “change,” because life is the never the same after divorce enters the picture. Conversations with your spouse aren’t the same after divorce is discussed, family outings don’t have the same cheery feel, and the wedding ring on your finger feels just a little too cold. But those feelings are nothing compared to the changes your family will have to face in the months and years to come.

One of the biggest changes for children is the new living arrangement. Undoubtedly, someone is moving out of the family home, which is stressful for children. But when the entire family is moving out of the family home, and moving to different places, the children are left reeling.

Walk in Their Size 4′s

A study published by the University of Virginia looked into the relationship between the frequency at which a person moved during childhood and the person’s life satisfaction as an adult. In 1994, the researchers interviewed 7,108 Americans between the ages 20 and 75 years-old about their childhood moves,personality types, and life satisfaction.

The researchers found people who moved less during childhood reported having more extroverted personalities and a higher satisfaction in life. People who moved more during childhood reported being more introverted and feeling less satisfaction in life.

But let’s take a little reality check: This study did not observe the children during childhood moves, and only asked participants to vaguely describe their life satisfaction. Additionally, there is no reported information about the participant’s upbringing or other childhood experiences.

Now Guide Their Size 4′s

Here’s the point we want to make: Divorce and the task of moving can be disastrous for a child, but don’t despair that you child will become a delinquent just because the family is moving. Just like everything else in life, there are good ways to handle a situation and not so productive or positive ways to handle a situation.

Many a parent is probably throwing their arms up in indignation, yelling “What else am I doing wrong now?!” Just bear with us, we are not trying to tell you that moving will cause your child irreparable damage. We are just saying it might be prudent to check in with your child about their feelings about moving; and by “might be” we mean “it is.”

Make Their Moving Frown Upside-Down

Here are a few tips to make moving less of a traumatic incident and more of an exciting event.

#1: Keep the communication lines free and clear. Communication is the most important element in a healthy relationship, and it is the best way to make sure your child have everything they need to be happy and healthy.  Take time out of each day to talk to your child about their take on moving. Let them speak freely about the anger, fear, excitement, or anxiety they feel, and try to leave your stress out of this moment.

Moving for divorcing parents is more of a necessity, and maybe even a welcome change. Just recognize moving does not mean the same things to your child, and let them be able to confide that in you without scolding or pressure to change their feelings.

#2: Inclusion is better than dictation. The family dynamic has changed, and now the physical family make-up is changing. For your, child this is an apocalypse; so seize the moment to create a new and improved family dynamic and make-up.

If the family used to be run just by mom and pop, then make this the the beginning of the era of inclusion. Let the kids have a say in where they live, how their room looks, and how to decorate the new house. It will reassure them the family is still theirs to be a part of.

#3: Give them closure. The physical act of moving is as simple as putting things in boxes and trucks, and transporting them to the new house. But moving involves memories, sentimentality, and the disruption of normalcy. For your children, they are leaving everything they know in the world for a foreign land.

To make the move more conclusive, we suggest these 2 things: 1) Wait to move until the end of the school year. Not only would the mid-year move affect their grades, but getting to know a new neighborhood, teacher, friends, and life style would be too much to handle at once. 2) Have a little farewell party or tour. Take you child to visit their old favorite places and friends. This will give the child a positive end to the move, and maybe even excite them for the new places and people they’ll love.

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