Moving often means leaving familiar things and people you’ve come to love. In a large family, that is multiplied, in our case, 8 fold. We left friends, family, our cat, and the home we lived in when our precious Emily left this earth. None of it is easy, but over the years, we’ve found ways to ease some the ache of saying goodbye.
1. Talk about the new house/city A LOT.
We really talk it up! We tell them about all the new things they will have to do there. We tell them about all the neat features of the new house. A few times we have been able to take one or two of them along with us to see the new house and city beforehand, but that is rare, so they rely on the mental picture we provide them.
2. Take pictures of the old house/city.
My 10 year old has a lot of trouble with change. Any time anything changes, she has learned to cope by taking pictures. When the landlords painted our living room walls in our old house, she spent the day taking pictures until it was finished. She missed some of the moving process this time, so I snapped some pictures for her:
3. Include the children in making new house decorating decisions.
Let them pick out paint colors or new decor for their room. Ask for their input on what flowers to plant or what curtains to put up. You don’t have to necessarily take their advice, but you should try to include some of their ideas wherever you can because you want them to feel connected to the new house.
4. Make sure you maintain lines of communication.
Set up Skype, get addresses and phone numbers and encourage the children to write and call old friends. One group of friends we had to say goodbye to years ago, put together a packet of stationary and envelopes already pre-addressed with their address on them, so my children could write.
5. Look for other ways to connect and remember the past.
Perhaps a scrapbook or photos on the computer would be a good way to help your children feel closer to those they have left behind. Encourage them to talk about the old house and city in a story-telling type way that connects their past with their present and future. The connections they have made, even in such short lives, are all part of their story. Tell it!
The move we made is still within driving distance and we intend to go back every now and then which I think will help the children to adjust. I’m also looking forward to connecting to others up here…but that, is another post!