In general, moving homes can be a very stressful experience, especially to a new location. And while adults have a hard time with the stress of it all, this time of transition can be particularly difficult for children, of all ages. Children are often left not understanding the need to move or leave their friends and their sense of familiarity behind.
Without the proper guidance, children can feel lost and displaced from all the comforts they have ever known.
Several weeks back, I was approached by the Toronto Brokerage Firm, TheRedPin, and asked for my advice on how to make moving a smooth and successful experience for children. While there are definite differences in how to help children across the ages, there is one tip which applies across the board – children need to feel empowered and in control. And if we allow children to be part of the moving process instead of merely immersing them in it without any input from them, the outcome is sure to be that much more successful.
5 Tips to Help Make Moving Easier For Children:
1. Visit the Neighborhood.
Parents should always provide as much of a ‘visual’ as they can for children of any age. They can ‘map’ out the neighbourhood. They could explain where the recreation centres are, the parks, their favourite ice cream store. Whatever they do, they could make sure they appeal to the cognitive levels of their children so as to insure that their emotional needs are being met.
2. Visit the Home.
Whenever possible, if the new home is nearby or vacant, parents and their children could make frequent trips to the new home. Children could even be encouraged to bring over their ‘stuff’; toys and games for younger children, posters and paraphernalia for older children. This process will help acclimate children to their new home by making it ‘theirs’ a little bit at a time.
3. Limit Life Changes.
Too many changes at once can be stressful for children. Parents should try to avoid making too many major ‘life changes’ at the same time. For instance, if a move is imminent, parents should avoid altering their child’s nap schedule, changing their caregivers, or even start potty training. All of these changes in routine are disruptive under the best of circumstances. But when a move is thrown into the mix, they can all become too overwhelming and are best left until after the child is settled.
As much as possible, parents can help their children transition by keeping their new room as similar as possible to their old home. Can the furniture be set up in the same way? If for whatever reason this is not feasible, parents can engage their child’s help in choosing new furniture, new toys, new bedding, or a new color scheme. Again, their input will help get them excited and motivated for the move especially if they feel that their input is valuable.
5. Timing The Move.
If it is realistic, I would also encourage all parents to move into their new move during a school break, ideally at the end of the academic year. For all children, but especially for older children (tweens and teens) summertime is a time of transition anyway…finishing one grade, and moving on to the next. Children are more adaptable to new situations, such as home and school settings, if they can be eased into them during times which are less disruptive to their regular routines.
Moving does not have to be a complete nightmare. With proper notice and input from our children, moving could also be a time of excitement and empowerment for our children.
I am seeing more and more couples in my practice struggle with infertility. Infertility is one of the first big life stressors that a couple has to contend with together.
Growing up, parents generally teach their children that perseverance is a key to attaining their goals. Unfortunately, for many couples struggling with infertility, perseverance is not the problem – especially for those with ‘unexplained’ infertility (infertility when there is no known physiological cause). Infertility is one of those life situations where the outcome can be completely out of a couple’s direct control.
Also, until a couple starts trying to have a baby, there is often little or no warning that they are about to be immersed into a cycle of stress and procedures and the fear of the unknown.
Couples facing this issue need coping mechanisms to help them through their journey. They need guidance on evaluating their options and assistance in making decisions that they could both comfortably live with.
So, how do couples survive the news of infertility?
Here are 3 essential tips for coping with infertility:
1. Couples must remain a united front. Couples come in to see me and very often they have very different perspectives on what the next steps should be. Should they proceed on with another IVF cycle? Should they proceed to egg donation? What is the right number of cycles to try before they can move on to the next logical step?The truth is, there is no one answer to this question. Every situation is different, and every couple and personality is different, as are financial circumstances.
One of the first things I try to do is help couples figure out a way to get on the same page. It’s important to wait for your partner to catch up to you so that you can proceed to the next step in your journey as a united front.
2. Couples must realize that infertility is a family issue. Infertility is an individual issue, a couples’ issue and also a family issue. Infertility affects those going through it in ways that most people, on the surface, cannot understand or cannot even recognize. However, it also affects the ways in which you communicate with loved ones. Your body language, gestures, and unspoken messages convey information to your loved ones whether your realize it or not.
This is especially true if your extended family members are not privy to the details of your struggle, or to the fact that there have been miscarriages or other failed medical treatments.
Unfortunately, infertility has the ability to stress out both the couple struggling as well as their families. Without proper communication, couples risk that there will be collateral damage done to their familial relationships which will last a lot longer beyond the fertility struggle.
I believe it is important to provide as much information as possible to extended family and friends, to make them aware that you are struggling without breaching your privacy or the privacy wishes of your partner. The truth is, you cannot fault others for behaving in a certain way or responding in a certain way if they do not have all the facts.
3. Seek Support. Couples need to be as candid as possible as to what type of support they need. Often your loved ones try to offer support but the support ends up hurting too much. Such as ‘if you just relax, it will happen’, or ‘sorry for your miscarriage, I guess the baby was not meant to be’. The truth is that couples already realize that the ‘baby is not meant to be’, but it feels dismissive when others say it.
So couples need to be specific. Ask for what they need. And kindly suggest to others what they really do not need.
Infertility needs to be recognized as a medical, emotional and potentially financial crisis. With the proper guidance and support, whether from friends, family members or counselors, there is hope that couples will be able to re-emerge on the other side. And whatever the outcome, they will be armed to deal with it.
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