For the most part, moving homes is a very big step for every family. The emotional stress that comes with it cannot be over-emphasized, even if it means you are just moving across town. The physical stress of having to pack up everything and then figure out where everything is after moving in is equally daunting. It comes with its re-orientation of everything you have become accustomed to; figuring out where to shop for groceries, where to get your favorite food to where you can get a good school and playground for your kids. Everything you have taken for granted would have to be re-invented.
While most adults would have built up coping mechanisms to deal with some of the pressures of adjusting to a new home, the shock and impact on kids can be even harder. For children, this may mean losing close friends and loved ones, having to develop new relationships and adapting to a completely new culture. A move may temporarily disrupt a child’s predictable routines and comfort, however, moving to a new home is not necessarily bad. A move can help children learn to be adaptable, flexible, resilient, self-confident, brave, and capable of making new friends. Moves can broaden children’s experiences and introduce them to greater diversity. A move if not well managed may lead to a child getting clingy and slow down their social adaptation.
To guide children to settle into a new home, we would suggest some simple techniques that would make the experience less of a burden and would rather give room for some bit of fun while at it. Bear in mind that the process involves the pre-move stage; that is the whole phase before the actual movement occurs and the phase after the move to the new home has occurred.
The first and most important step in providing support to help the child settle into a new home is to communicate honestly with the child. Not communicating with children about the potential move can affect how the children cope with the move so resist the temptation to delay the news about the move. It would help them deal with the anxiety. Explain the rationale for the move in plain language; be sure to highlight some of the pros and cons of the move. Give details on how this move is going to influence their regular routines. i.e. how is the move going to affect their school? Would there be a need for a change in school? Are they still going to see their friend, etc.? While communicating the move, leave pauses in the discussion to give children a chance to ask questions. Make sure they know you are willing to listen to them and discuss their views. When a child expresses doubt or misgivings about the move, help your child cope with the moving anxiety by reassuring them that the whole family is in this together; no one will be left behind. Be empathetic and respect their feelings. In the event, the move would affect their place of school, inform caregivers and teachers about it so that they help the child manage the transition. After the move, continue to encourage your child to share his thoughts and feelings and support the child to “warm-up” to the new environment.
To help manage the child’s anxiety about the unknown and to keep their mind from wandering, it might help to do a family trip to have a look around. This process helps the child to come to terms with the new move. Take a casual drive or walk around the neighborhood and visit the nearby playground and pay a visit to see their new school, at least from the outside. Stop at the roadside stand to buy fresh fruit. Stop at the local library and get excited about all the fliers on the bulletin board about kids' classes and activities. Find the best pizza and bakery. Remember that moving to a new home or neighborhood could be one of your child’s major life transitions hence your support for them to meet this challenge is crucial. It is a lesson that will serve them well for a lifetime. In some of our properties like Nova, you have the opportunity to take the child to have a view of our child-friendly environment. NoVA provides a playground for children, complete with the newest swing sets and jungle gyms for your child’s playing pleasure. The playground is strategically positioned so you can still have an eye on your children from your balcony. Nova is situated in one of the primes locations in Accra, Roman Ridge
Saying goodbye is sometimes very difficult, particularly for children. It would be helpful to help them to keep a journal of all the memories they have of the old neighborhood, take pictures with friends and loved ones. Go out to all the fun places and reconnect with all the places that they love. Let the child take time out to say that special goodbye and thank you to all his cherished contacts and possibly get their contact details.
To get the child to begin to warm up to the idea of moving, it would be great to let your child participate in any decisions that you can reasonably allow them to participate in, such as what color to paint their room or where to put the furniture or toys. Take the opportunity of this situation to get rid of some of the clutter, but do not compel your child to give away things that are of sentimental value as it may just compound his sense of loss. In packing up the child’s items you must be guided to mark them so that they can set up their new space much more easily. You do not want to compound an already anxious situation with the thought of missing toys or items. Remember for the child the more predictable things are, the more quickly they would adjust.
Make the new move as exciting and less intimidating as possible. Schedule some fun activities soon after you arrive at your new home. You can have a fun time doing some of the painting if you are into DIY (Do it yourself) or go to the playground together or go out for movies. The idea here is to do anything to help manage the change of adjusting to a new home.
Like any other major life event, moving can come with many mixed emotions and must be managed well, particularly for children. You need to take them through this phase with the assurance of being there for them throughout the move. While at it, help them to make a new contact in their new location by planning fun activities. Continue to communicate and be on hand to answer any lingering questions even after you move.
Now that you have an idea of how to manage your kids to adjust to their new home, let us go and fill the process with some fun by visiting our Nova property in Roman Ridge. This location is close to some of the best schools in Accra and the neighbourhood is also safe to even take a walk with your child to school and also home to some of the fine dining restaurants.
Additionally, you may visit the Devtraco Plus office on No. 8B, Sir Arku Korsah Road, Airport Residential Area or call 0302798692