Moving with preschoolers
If you are like 20 percent of the population, you will be moving this year. Whether you are moving across town or across the country, this means you will be changing routine, leaving friends behind, and adjusting to a new area. To the preschooler whose life revolves around domestic routine in a familiar setting, this transition can be an exciting adventure . . . or a challenging experience. Here are several suggestions for making that upcoming move easier: Alleviate fears
Although you will be busy, include your preschoolers in pre-move activity. Assure them that the entire household is moving, including them, their toys, their beds, and their books. If you are eliminating household items from your inventory, draw their attention to treasured possessions which will be going with you.
If divorce or separation is the reason for the move, maintain a matter-of-fact tone when discussing this with the children. Don't burden them with bitterness and resentment.
Be alert to, and understanding of, any changes in your preschoolers' behavior. Listen to questions and answer them truthfully, in terms they will understand. Acknowledge that it will be difficult to leave good friends behind, but ``won't it be fun to write, or call them later on?''
Ask for help with preparations:
1. Bring home several boxes from the grocery store and let them practice helping you pack.
2. Let children take turns selecting a fast-food restaurant to patronize on those last hectic days.
3. Assign them the important task of caring for a favorite stuffed toy, blanket, or doll during the move. Minimize change
Routine is near and dear to the preschooler's heart. Introduce changes in routine gradually.
If you must find another home for a family pet because of the move, do it so far in advance that your children will not associate that occurrence with moving.
Have children adjust to sharing a bedroom or sleeping in different beds before moving to your new residence.
Continue other routines:
1. Let them participate in their play groups and other regular activities until moving day, if possible.
2. Visit favorite local spots on those last regular outings. Preserve treasured memories by taking pictures of familiar faces and places.
3. Continue bedtime story rituals. Introduce an occasional story about children who move.
4. Avoid packing their possessions until the last moment. After the move, assign top priority to settling their bedrooms. Retain familiar wall hangings and bedding; redecorating can come later.
5. If they have regular television viewing habits, adhere to that schedule as much as possible. Discuss the future
Once preschoolers have become accustomed to the idea of moving, they may want to know more about their new home and future activities.
Anticipate their questions:
1. Write to the Chamber of Commerce in your new area and find out as much as you can. Pay attention to features your children will enjoy: playground facilities, day-care accommodations, public parks.
2. If your new home is a short distance away, take them for a pre-move visit. Show them where they will sleep, play, and attend preschool. Scout the neighborhood for potential friends.
3. Help them make a list of friends and relatives (complete with addresses and telephones) for future communication. Seek additional information
1. Visit the public library. Ask the children's librarian for books about children who move. Check the ``Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature'' for related magazine articles.
2. Talk to your mover. Your moving company will offer suggestions or provide literature about moving with children.
3. Seek the advice of friends. You can benefit from the hindsight experience of friends and neighbors who have moved with preschoolers.
4. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for two free pamphlets, ``Guide to a Satisfactory Move'' and ``Moving and Children,'' from the American Movers Conference, Public Relations Department, Third Floor, 400 Army-Navy Drive, Arlington, Va. 22202