Childhood Anxiety and Moving: What You Should Know
When you’re a kid, your frame of reference is so tiny that an ordinary occurrence can seem like the end of the world. But, throw in something out of the ordinary– such as a move–, and your child’s anxiety can flare-up. Anxiety issues in children can lead to panic attacks, dizziness, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, and self-harm.
Your child might begin to do poorly in school and avoid social situations necessary for development. The National Institutes of Health cites studies that show there’s even a link between childhood anxiety and substance abuse. Confronting your child’s anxiety about moving head-on can prevent them from going down a dark path. So here is some helpful guidance, courtesy of WalkawayNFL.
How to Prepare Your Child for the Move
The best way to prepare your kids for a big move is to be open and honest with them. Explain to them the reasons for the action, and initiate a dialogue where they can tell you their thoughts and feelings. They may be angry and loud, making it difficult to converse. On the other hand, they may be dismissive and quiet, making it more accessible. No matter how they react, it’s essential to be supportive and understanding. Moving is a significant change in their lives, and as children, they do not have the emotional maturity to handle it calmly, rationally.
Showing your kid photos of the place you’re moving to could get them excited and relieve stress. So instead, use an online tool to check out the area and kid-friendliness of the building and location you’re moving to – this can reduce stress for everyone. Sites like Rent.com, for example, have features that allow you to take 3D tours of properties in the greater Fort Worth area.
When talking with your children about the move, choose to remain positive. For example, when discussing your new home, highlight all of the new opportunities available. Remind them about such activities as new sports teams or different television programs. It may even help characterize the move as an adventure, an obstacle for your child to triumph. Finally, express confidence in your child, and they will be more likely to believe it themselves.
When it comes to moving days, it’s a good idea to hire movers to do the bulk of the job for you. That way, you can spend some time with your kids, helping them say goodbye to the house. Look on a site like Angi.com to find highly rated moving services in your area. That way, you can have peace of mind that the job is in good hands while you comfort your children.
Moving as Grief
Your child may begin to show signs of grief as the reality of the move becomes more and more apparent. Grief is a state of conflicted feelings caused by a familiar change. The University of Texas explains that these feelings may include anger, denial, irritability, demotivation, frustration, fear, and, of course, anxiety. It’s helpful for your child to approach their emotions regarding moving the same way you would help another person with grief.
Ask your children how they feel, and be a good listener when they decide to open up to you. Please share your feelings about the move and even give them anecdotes about difficult situations you had to deal with during your childhood. Acknowledge their anxiety and don’t try and minimize it; downplaying their concerns will only make them feel like they are being unreasonable and trigger more anxiety. In the end, it’s about being there for your child. In the hustle and bustle of moving, you may find yourself scarce on time — but you have to make time for these discussions.
The Importance of Nesting
When it’s finally time to move and you’re settling into your new house, you must make it feel like home as soon as possible. Take some time off of work to give this your full attention. Granted, if you’re a business owner, this is easier said than done, so make sure you create a strategy beforehand.
Designate an employee to be in charge while you’re away and give your other employees information they can use to handle problems on their own. Similarly, if you’re an employee, use some of your vacation time and be sure your coworkers know who’s taking your role while you’re out. Then, once you’ve got your work situation sorted out, you and your children can start “nesting.”
Children need a sense of “nesting” as much as adults do. If your children are younger, spend your days off setting up their room the way it was as soon as possible. In doing this, you’re creating a safe space that’s familiar and all it’s own. If your children are older, let them suggest how their new bedroom should be decorated. Giving them the autonomy to curate their space the way they like will build confidence and give them something to look forward to in the movie.
That being said, there should still be boundaries for decorating. For example, some parents tend to overindulge their kids in the wake of a significant life change. The filling comes from a good place, but it can make a child lazy, ungrateful, and unpleasant.
Once settled in, get some games like those mentioned on WalkawayNFL and let your kiddo invite some new friends over when the time is right. Fun and new friends will help establish normalcy and acceptance of the new place.
Moving can cause anxiety in anyone, but sensitive children feel it more than anyone. Prepare your child for relocating by communicating with them and allowing them to express their feelings to you without judgment. Approaching their anxiety as if it were grief can help you deal with the situation healthy. Finally, let your children nest appropriately for their age. These simple tricks can make moving easier for your kids and prevent troubling behaviors often associated with relocation.