As an amy wife and mother of two, I have lived my life in boxes, cartons and packed suitcases for over a decade. While it gets exhausting and sometimes very difficult even emotionally to accept and move along the change, doing this with chldren can come with its own challlenges. Nevertheless, years of movement has by now made be a pro and I look at moving in and out of cities and changing houses with a lot more at ease.
There are certain ways in which you may make this experience enjoyable and less tough on you and your children ;
1. Discuss it with children
Now its important that children know whats happenning, while booking tickets or making decisions like when to call the packers or what to take and what not to-its is a good idea to keep children involved in these conversations and make them feel that they are contributors to this decision. This makes children feel responsible and the anxiety and rebel usually arising from the transfers or parents that affect the children reduces.
2. Give children tasks
At every age, a school going child is able to do some or the other task at their own pace. From packing all souveniers to labelling all packed boxes, all children can be involved in some or the other task. This is crucial as in the busy moving schedule we are unable to give children time and they feel ignored. Giving them tasks as, involving them results in their participation and eliminates boredom and enxiety for them.
3. Read about the new place
Any place in the world one goes, has a history or story to tell. While the parents are looking at the logistics it is a good idea for the children to be involved in some research. Let them read about the place, give them the name of the city or locality let them try and find out what is closeby or let them look at pictures of the place. It is a great concept to know about the place before going there and it never cuts down on the surprise element as it’s a different feel to see it in real.
4. Meet locals
Given to the huge circle, everytime before moving to a certain place I would try and find out some one who has lived there before or belonged to that place. I would enjoy some interactions with them and take my children to hear their experiences. While this gives wings to their imagination, children start relating to the place which makes settling down easy.
5. Let go
While packing we always ensured children learnt to sort and understand the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’. While everything they possess holds a special value, it is important for them to learn to let go or pass it on to some one who could need and utilise it more than them. Old toys, clothes, books even gadgets in some cases, we ensured our children carried what was essential and left behind or donated what they dint require.
While ‘goodbyes’ are never easy, it always helps when you make promises while saying your ‘goodbyes’ and you keep them. Be it teachers, friends or relatives, we ensured we encourage our children to keep in touch and help them in doing so whenever they need it. As adults, our get togethers are always during dinners and lunches where in we exchange thoughts and testimonials, for our children we had organised play dates and home visits giving it the due importance. From writing emails, to making fortnightly calls, our chidren made promises that they could keep and as parents we partnered with them to do so.
All in all, raising two wonderful children who moved along with us in every move we had in life has been a wonderful experience. While change is the only thing constant, t can also be the most memorable and enriching one if done it right.
An army wife, mother of two teenagers
Former volunteer educationist in Philadelphia, USA
Primary Teacher, Summer Fields School, Gurgaon