How Can I Help my Child with Moving Anxiety?

Helping Children Deal with Upset Feelings Moving to a New Community

Written by Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director

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Moving anxiety is normal.  Change can be scary and hard, and adults can help children by acknowledging this.  A few simple steps can help children with the transitions that come with moving, as we discussed in our answer to the parent who asked us the following question:

QUESTION: My children are upset because we are moving away from the small town, where they have lived all their lives, to a big city. How can I help them?

ANSWER: Tell your children that it is normal to be upset and that they can talk about their unhappy feelings with you all they want. They can be angry, sad, and scared. Make plans for how they can stay in touch with friends by e-mail and phone.

If possible, let your children visit the new city with you before the move so that they can see the exciting fun things that their new home will have to offer. Children who are new to a school are potential targets for bullies, so be extra aware, especially if the move has to happen in the middle of the school year.

After you move, even though you may be very busy adjusting to the transition yourself, get involved in your childrens’ new schools so that you can get to know their teachers, fellow students, and other parents. Ask for advice about age-appropriate activities your children can be part of. Be sure that your children have personal safety training so that they are streetwise.

Moving anxiety, like other forms of worry and concern, can be reduced by practicing skills to deal with potential problems.  Practicing skills can also increase confidence.  In this case, skills for meeting new people, finding their way around new places, and getting help are just a few of the powerful skills that might help your children feel more confident moving to their new community.


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About the Author

Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director
Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, the Kidpower Safety Comics series, the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults, and The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People.
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