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If you move a lot with children...

(25 Posts)
purpleturtle Thu 26-May-05 16:53:08

We are approaching a phase in our lives when we think we will be moving on every couple of years or so. All fairly exciting for us; ds (2) will be happy anywhere he has an audience; dd (4) though, is much more aware of what's going on, and quite sad to think she's leaving her wonderful nursery and our lovely house.

We don't know yet where we'll be going, so we can't even try to get her excited about the next place...

Anyway, it's got me to thinking about ways to help her, and ds in future, to cope with the upheaval of moving. And I thought I'd ask the wisdom of MN - I'm sure some of you have experience of this. What have you put in place to help your children cope? Have you made mistakes that I could learn from?

moondog Thu 26-May-05 16:55:06

We do this. I've bored for Wales on MN about it.
There is no special secret. Being with one's parents in a stable and loving home is all you need really. Doesn't matter where you are.

cod Thu 26-May-05 16:56:19

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purpleturtle Thu 26-May-05 16:58:10

I was wondering whether a special photo album for each of them, with pictures of their little friends, fun places etc would be a help or just upsetting. Any thoughts?

tealeaves Thu 26-May-05 16:58:54

It can be quite an upheaval for youngsters especially if they have just made friends and they have to give them up every few years. I don't think there is any easy answer tbh. I would ensure that if they have close friends they are able to keep inntouch via MSN, phone, e-mail and letters and allowed to visit whenever is possibel; listening to their problems abd understanding that it can be hard even if they smile and just get on with it (they might not let on if it keeps happening) and maybe explain that it is part of the job and that one day you will be settled but it has to be and do everything in your power to help them with the upheaval.

motherinferior Thu 26-May-05 16:59:00

I'm afraid I hated it. But then you've not met my parents. I think looking back that the most important thing is to let your children feel, and express, homesickness for the place they're leaving behind, however much you feel that 'home' means 'the family' wherever that is physically located.

cod Thu 26-May-05 17:00:23

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moondog Thu 26-May-05 17:02:34

We did it as kids as well actually....No doubt that keeping in touch is easier than it was.
We would have the grandparents ship us out newspapers and chocolate. The former were three months old by the time they arrived,the latter non-existent as it would all have been eaten by rats in the hold.

We used to recored cassettes for the grandparents.Hilarious to listen to now. Despite being marooned on a tropical island,surrounded by wall to wall Aussies,we all sounded like something from 'Swallows& Amazons'.

tealeaves Thu 26-May-05 17:03:03

just out fo interest have you move much cod?

cod Thu 26-May-05 17:03:29

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motherinferior Thu 26-May-05 17:05:09

I wish my parents had thought about it more, actually. In our case it was complicated by the fact that one of our moves was to India where my mother is from, and where we'd actually lived when I was a baby, so it was 'home'. But that just made it harder for me, in many ways.

Sorry, I'm not saying at all that your children will have the same experience; I think you are doing it the right way!

purpleturtle Thu 26-May-05 17:06:08

I'm sure it depends on personality: as I said, I'm not worried about ds, partly because he's so young, but partly because he's so extrovert.

Dd is very different though - quite reserved and sensitive, with a tendency to holding back in group situations. That's why I'm a bit worried about her.

LIZS Thu 26-May-05 17:08:22

purple turtle - we sort of did the picture thing when we moved ds at age 3. took loads of pics at our last get togethers and then made a photo montage for the wall. He liked to be able to talk about his friends and family back in UK. He also was sent his nursery class photo after he'd left.

We're doing it all again this summer and ds (now 7)is already distraught at leaving his friends, even though some are moving on themselves dd is a little more sanguine, being younger, but will find the transition hard nonetheless.

purpleturtle Thu 26-May-05 17:11:19

Yep, LIZS, that's what I'm afraid of.

flashingnose Thu 26-May-05 17:15:48

I think the best thing you can do is not dwell too much on those you are leaving but build up the next place as the most exciting thing since sliced bread. If you present something as completely exciting with no negatives whatsoever, they're less likely to find it difficult IYKWIM (and obviously IME).

purpleturtle Thu 26-May-05 17:26:46

That will be a whole lot easier when we know where we're going! meanwhile, I think we need not to be talking about leaving in front of the children too much

karen01 Thu 26-May-05 18:40:12

purpleturtle- My DD is now 8 and the longest I have ever lived in the same house is 23 months. Once she got to about 3-4 years old I always talked about the move for months 9evenwhen we weren't sure were we would be going) Just saying how exciting it will be and to side track her would say would you like to chose a new duvet cover etc for your bedroom. This seemed to work with her. But now she has got used to it and expects a new duvet cover and accessories everytime we move!! We will be moving at the back end of next year. DS will be just over two by then so won't really know. But DD talks about it now saying where she would like to go and why etc. She does however still talk about old friends and schools etc, but we just sit and chat until she has got it off her chest. Each time you move remember to pint out some really good bits. At the moment DD is missing the UK but we just say how lucky she is to be able to go to the beach /pool every afternoon once school has finished (1pm) and how much more freedom she has here compared to what she would have had in the UK.

I do understand all kids are different and wish you the best of luck for your moves etc and helping DD to cope with it.

Take care

purpleturtle Fri 27-May-05 12:53:37

Thanks Karen - sounds like words of wisdom to me!

beatie Fri 27-May-05 13:16:12

I was moved around a couple of times before reaching senior school age. Looking back with adult hindsight I don't remember it being that hard leaving friends. What was harder was making new friends and settling into a new school.

Anything you can do to make that run more smoothly for your daughter, I think, will be a great help.

I don't think it will affect her too mcu at the age of 4. I moved at age 2, 6, 8 and 10. It was harder to move at age 8 and 10.

bakedpotato Fri 27-May-05 13:28:18

Agree that it only got tough around 11 (at which point I went on strike and demanded to be sent to b/school). Before that can't remember it being a problem -- we were with the parents, they were 'home' to us.
Both my parents totally unneurotic though which probably helped too

tamum Fri 27-May-05 14:03:52

We moved when I was 6, which was fine, and then again at 9, which was misery lasting several years. I would be wary of talking too much in terms of how exciting it is going to be- give them a chance to talk about their feelings. Our moves were presented as "whoopee we're off to the other end of the country, isn't it exciting", and I just resented it and got really pretty depressed. I think it's good that you're thinking about it

Miaou Fri 27-May-05 14:20:52

We moved when the dds were 2 and 4, and again when they were 6 and 7. You are absolutely right, it does depend on their personality as to how they cope with it. Interestingly, we were more worried about how dd1 would cope (very shy, finds it hard to talk to people etc) than dd2 (very sociable, make friends v. easily), yet it was dd2 who found it harder to adapt to the change. She isn't unhappy, but we moved nearly four months ago now and we still get her sobbing her heart out occasionally because she misses her old friends!

We did a combination of presenting the move(both times) as an exciting experience coupled with some big changes, with pros and cons to both. With the first move, we didn't discuss it with them at all until we knew where we were going, then we got photographs and visited the place so they knew what we were going to.

suedonim Fri 27-May-05 17:32:41

We moved loads of times with children and are now contemplating another move abroad. We never put anything in place, beyond telling them what we knew of where we were going. They don't seem to have suffered at all, in fact I think they are all now quite adaptable at coping with changes. Almost all the places we've lived have had mobile populations so they were used to the idea of people coming and going anyway. Ime, children get security from their parents, not from where they live.

jenkel Mon 30-May-05 22:10:49

I never moved anywhere until I moved in with Dh and we moved 200 miles away. DH's stepdad was in the army so he moved all over the place. DH is a lot better at making new friends than me, to be honest I never had to make friends until I moved in with him as I was surrounded by people since I was tiny and I found it really difficult.

jessicasmummy Mon 30-May-05 22:13:18

my DH is in the army, so we move at least every 3 years. We have both agreed that once jessica hits 11 and going to high school, dh will leave the army. its for her own good to be in the same high school all the way through in my opinion.

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