Helping your kids adjust to a new home
By a few weeks after moving, most children will feel comfortable in their new setting. However, some will have trouble coping. Watch for these signs that may indicate your child is having adjustment problems. If parents see these warning signs, talk to the child's pediatrician, teacher or guidance counselor.
- Sleep difficulties
- Appetite changes
- Depression Your child is not laughing or smiling, seems apathetic.
- Separation anxiety Your child is clingy, cries when you leave, or doesn't want to go to school.
- Prolonged anxiety Your child is unusually anxious four to six weeks after the move; older kids may experience panic attacks.
- Withdrawal Your child withdraws from social interaction.
- Physical complaints Your child chronically complains about headaches, stomach aches or not feeling well, and there is no physical reason.
- Mood swings Your child is moody, irritable or angry (particularly teens).
- School problems Your child acts up in school, his grades drop, etc.
Guidebooks for Planning Your Family Move
"Family Smart Moves: Your Guide to Getting Through the Emotional Maze of Relocation," by Nadia Jensen, Ed.D., Audrey McCollum, M.S.W. and Stuart Copans, M.D. ($16.95 paperback). Offers help with getting-ready, moving and
arriving issues for kids and teens.
"Smooth Moves," by Ellen Carlisle ($12.95 paperback). Chapters on moving young children and moving teens highlight this highly rated how-to guidebook.
"Move It: A Guide to Relocating Family, Pets and Plants," by Nan DeVincentis Hayes, et al.($11.95 paperback). General but wide-ranging
advice on planning a move for all family members...including the furry ones!
"Footsteps Around the World: Relocation Tips for Teens" (Second Edition), by Beverly Roman, illustrated by Michael Cadieux ($13.95
paperback, spiral bound). Checklists and other to-do features help teens address feelings about a move, getting organized, choosing a new school and making friends.
"Why Do We Have to Move? Helping Your Child Adjust with Love and Illustrations," by Cynthia MacGregor, illustrations by David Clark ($14.95
hardcover). Written to children, with humorous illustrations and an honest assessment of what can be tough about a move but what's great about one too.
"The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day," by Stan & Jan Berenstain ($3.25 paperback). The familiar bear family moves from a cave in the mountains to a tree house in the valley, and young readers go with them every step.
"Goodbye House," by Frank Asch ($5.99 paperback). A good choice for very young fans of Asch's other Bear books. On Moving Day, Baby Bear and his family remember times together as they walk through their now empty house.
This story illustrates the benefits of planning a goodbye ritual at your old home.