Can moving during childhood be harmful?

A child laying in a moving box and laughing

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Moving can be a very riveting and exciting experience. However, it's not the same for everyone. Although we, as adults, look forward to leveling up and making our real estate dreams come true, children have a more challenging time with transition and change. Of course, they'll undoubtedly go through the process and get used to it over time. However, even though children are more resilient than they look, can moving during childhood be harmful?

Every child is different

One of the first pieces of advice you should consider while doing your research on the subject is to not overgeneralize. Every child has their rhythm, and you need to think about that too. If you're dealing with an already anxious child, it's only natural that exposure to a new environment will increase their anxiety. However, if your child is usually positive and happy, this change could go either way. Something you should never do is to take it upon yourself to presume what'll happen. This way, you can affect your children with your own fear and scare them even though they would have otherwise been just fine.

How does moving house affect children?

If you take the time to learn how relocating during childhood affects children, you'll see that it can have many different effects. Even though overgeneralization is out of the question, there are some patterns that you should take into account. Some behaviors are proven to be present in those who have gone through a moving experience during childhood. Residential moving that takes place during early and middle childhood affects many aspects of children's lives. This impact is usually of social and emotional nature. This is primarily due to the lack of stability that moving can bring into a child's life. Early relocation can have worsened performance in school as a consequence. Nevertheless, there's no proof that these effects are long-lasting. It's important to state that these outcomes aren't irreparable since young parents can get overly concerned.

A sad girl
Relocating during childhood can have bad and good effects.

Not every change is a negative one

Another thing that young parents usually seem to neglect is that their child is constantly changing. This means that you cannot be sure that a particular change in your child's behavior is a direct consequence of moving during childhood. What's more, the changes that happen can often turn out to be positive in the long run.

Can moving during childhood be helpful?

On a more positive side, relocating during childhood builds character. Even though your kids might have a tough time adjusting to a new environment at first, remember that moving teaches them resilience. Having to sleep in a new bed, go to a new school, make new friends, and, in all truth, change most of what you know can hasten the experience of growing up. Instead of asking, ‘Can moving during childhood be harmful?’, ask yourself whether it can be helpful. Although it'll be challenging at first, your child could benefit from the relocation, as well.

Relocation should feel like an inclusive activity

Something that you should never do is exclude your kids from the process. If you feel that they need a time-out, by all means, hire a babysitter or send them to your parents' home to cool down. However, try not to keep them in the dark completely. Make sure they feel acknowledged. This will vastly lessen the harmful effects of moving during childhood. Listen to their needs and wishes just as you're listening to your own. If they aren't looking forward to some parts of the process, reassure them that the tough times won't last forever. Another great tip that can positively impact children is assigning them tasks and chores - they'll feel like they're helping.

A mother showing her son pictures of their future home.
Including your kids in the moving experience will lessen the negative effects

Don't jump to any conclusions

Your child might be excited about the upcoming move for all you know, and your worries might be for nothing. The best way to know what's going on in your child's mind is to sit down and talk to them. It would be best if you were understanding, welcoming, and comforting. Let them open up and state their fears. This kind of effort can be more helpful than researching the subject or even contacting a therapist.

One of the best ways to help your child deal with the challenging parts of moving is to let them tell you what they feel and want. This way, they'll feel much more in control. If you don't think this is enough, try talking to friends that have gone through this. Maybe they'll be able to advise you and tell you something you haven't been able to see since you're so close to the experience at the moment.

Hiring a competent moving company helps greatly

Taking breaks is essential. Nevertheless, moving can be a pretty hectic and time-consuming experience. The only viable solution is to hire a company that'll take the burden off of your shoulders. Find reliable movers that'll allow you to spend some alone time with your child. Pairing up with Simplify Valet Storage & Moving might be a good choice as they will enable you to move in peace and without being too involved in the process.

A mother and a daughter spending quality time together.
Hiring a reliable moving company will allow you to have fun with your child during the move.

Learn how to cope

To prevent your child from naturally developing coping mechanisms out of fear of moving during childhood, you need to develop them instead. This will reduce the stress of moving that your kids could potentially feel. What this means in practice is that you should give your children time off whenever you notice them becoming overwhelmed. Apply this even once you've relocated. If they're having trouble getting used to their new school, let them take a day off or maybe invite some of their new friends over.

Does talking to a trained professional help?

Since moving during childhood can be harmful in some cases, it would help if your kids had someone to vent to about their feelings. Sometimes, for whatever reason, kids cannot fully open up to their parents. This is where it would be beneficial to talk through their feelings with a trained professional.


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About the uthor : Stacy Prinston has a master's degree in child development. She has narrowed down her field of work and now helps kids who have gone through a significant change during their childhoods. Educating the public by writing blog posts on the side is only one of the many ways in which she prefers to give back to the community.

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