Children stand to lose and gain much in a move. For a child under the age of eighteen, each time they move to a new city, it’s like what happens when a picture is erased from an etch-a-sketch. All relationships they made in the previous location are essentially gone, and they feel this social void acutely.
Unfortunately, children don’t have a perspective to realize even were they to remain stationary during childhood, once they graduate high school, the majority of the friends they had up until that point will fade away.
In short, many factors ultimately tear childhood friends apart. It’s rare a group remains close-knit through elementary, middle, and high school. Rarer still are those friends retained through and after college.
Still, you’ll never be able to communicate these realities to your young ones. But there are some things you can do to help defer the pain, and several of these tactics will be briefly explored here.
Localized Social Groups
Local youth groups at varying churches, after-school programs, speech and debate clubs, theater troupes, summer activities in groups, Boys and Girls clubs, and other social organizations for youngsters make a lot of sense. You want to be careful in a new town; sometimes such areas have predators in their ranks—vet these groups.
That said, there are always groups of this kind; some of them are even national, like the Boy Scouts. Again, be careful which troupes you choose—do your homework beforehand and ask around. Here’s a list of youth organizations you might look into—but again, be very careful to vet them beforehand.
Also, don’t inundate children with social opportunities. Maybe they don’t mind the move, maybe they’re a bit overwhelmed. If you’ve moved with them before, remember what you learned from that move and their reaction. Some kids like traveling, and actually, don’t have any problem in new situations. So look into social groups, but don’t consider this your only option for helping them make friends.
Advantages Of Differing Locations
The value of choosing your investment carefully is hard to overstate. Old and new properties have pros and cons based on location, age, budget, renovation potential, and other factors idiosyncratic to a given property. Sometimes what property you buy depends on your children. This is especially true if you’re only staying a few years.
Should you only be in a community for two or three years, if you can find a home within biking distance of a popular skate park, river, lake, water park, or other recreational centers where young ones or teenagers tend to congregate, that can be key. If where you go is “cooler” than where you were, this helps children adapt.
Rewards and Facilitation Of Positive Attitude
You might offer rewards to children during the move. Maybe they get to pick their own rooms in the new place, maybe they get a larger allowance. Also, remember: how you feel about a move will communicate to them; even if they’re a moody teen.
If you’re excited and enjoying yourself, and you can keep that up a few weeks, it’s likely to translate—eventually. Certainly, this will depend on many things, but if you can make the move fun, that goes a long way toward deferring or overcoming associated depression.
Making Moves Fun, And Cutting Out Associated Stress
Frequent moves can be tiresome, but they don’t have to sap the strength of your young ones. If you reward them, help facilitate a positive attitude, choose locations with them in mind, and look into youth groups, you can help them socialize and enjoy the transition.