Friday, May 16, 2014

Kids and moving!

Kids are a big part of your large family move.  Preparing them, and making preparations for them will help make things go smoothly.  From babies to teens they all have their needs and struggles during this time.  Preparing them for your move should start early (the older they are, the sooner you start talking to them about the move).

Many have asked us if the moves are hard on the kids.  The answer?  Yes and no.  Moving is hard on everyone.  It is exhausting.  The stress is mental, emotional and physical.  No one gets away from this.  However I do believe that my kids have done fairly well through all of our moves.  I think homeschooling helps them.  They are moving with their main social unit.  This provides great stability for them.  We keep them involved in the plans and the process.  We talk them through it.  Over the years they have seen us to be true to our word in making great efforts to re-unite them with dear friends when possible.  They know that these "good-byes" are likely not forever; they are excited about the new friends they are sure to make and the many new experiences they have to look forward to.

We usually do a study on the new place we are moving to.  What is the climate like?  What sort of wildlife and vegetation will we see there?  What makes this place special?  Are there things there that will remind us of where we have been living?  Do we know anyone there?  If we know where we will be living we try to get pictures of the house.

Months out we start talking about people and places we want to see one last time.  Are there any dear friends we need to make an effort to see, to spend extra time with?  It can be hard to find the time during this busy season, but you need to set aside times to fellowship with dear friends.  It will do your heart good.

A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 
I'm thankful for a dear friend that is letting my kids come over about once a week to play with her kids so that I can work.  This time is not just a blessing because of the work I'm able to do, but because of the good medicine it is for my children's hearts.  Now if only us moms could get out together for a bit!

Some practical/physical things you can do for your kids are....make sure they see their things being packed up.  Bonus points if you can let them see some other family's things being delivered to their new home (this is easy if you are living on base).  Let them pick some favorite toys to bring with them (or you pick favorite toys for them).

Kids need to be kept busy during the move.  Don't just let them wander around making trouble.  Have toys, snacks and activities planned for them.  Can they go play at a friend's house for a couple of hours to give them (and you) a break?
Have some easy snacks available.

A little box full of special toys and activities available will save you much trouble (make sure you think about what will be appropriate on each end of the move).  Get it ready weeks ahead.  Make sure you have things available for all age groups that you have, though your older kids may pack some of their own things or be helping with the move more.  Don't let this box be a "free for all" you pick when and what they will play with.  Some ideas...
-Could they do playdoh?  Maybe in a corner of a (non-carpeted) floor?
-rolling a ball through a (nearly) empty room/house is loads of fun
-Bubbles outside on the porch?
-Dolls for girls, cars for boys (I have a new set of Snap 'n style dolls for the girls, Hot Wheels for the boy)
-DVD and books for a quiet time (naps may be hard to work out)
-legos could keep kids busy for a bit
-coloring books and crayons?
-a game or two? (this could be great for older kids)
This bag is full of activities for the kids.  They are wrapped so that they can be out in the open, but not all used at once (out of sight, out of mind).  They are labeled so that I know what day to pull them out.  Playdoh is best done on our starting end where we have more non carpeted areas for that play.  Legos will be pulled out on the other end where the "lost" legos will be found.  These don't have to be new toys, just swipe them from the kids' rooms 2-4 weeks before the move.

Find ways for them to help with the work.  That is easy for the older kids.  They often help supervise the packing process.  Little kids can help pass out drinks at appropriate times, pick up garbage (make it a game; the most pieces in 2 minutes or so).  Think about what you are doing.  Can the child do any simple portions of your job?

Babies and toddlers have a hard time (in other ways) with moves.  They know things are changing, but they don't understand how.  Keep them close.  Don't just pass them off on sitters on these busy days.  They will likely love being in the baby carrier.  The Ergo is great for older babies/toddlers.  Wear the baby as much as you can.  You are their world, if you are close they will feel safe(r).  Baby gear is big and bulky, but may be worth it to bring with you.  It can be harder to let little ones play during a move, having a safe place like a saucer or playpen can be a big blessing.

Your children will feed off of your emotions and actions.  If you are excited and happy about the move, they will be more likely to be.  If you are stressed and frazzled; its likely they will be too.  By preparing your home slowly over time you can avoid some of the stress.  Do you have things that help you through stressful times?  Use them!  I'll be sure that I have plenty of "Stress Away" and "Peace & Calming" oils on hand for all of us and plenty of the foods that help us feel good (healthy, not indulgences).  Keep your family grounded in God's word, and praying often.  He is faithful, let your children see you continuing to put your trust in HIM!

1 comment:

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