Navigating the Challenges of Relocating with Your Family

Guest Collaborative Post

Relocating, particularly when it involves changing schools, can be a tough experience for children. While adults often grapple with financial concerns and the logistical aspects of moving, children primarily focus on the emotional toll it takes. Moving can evoke feelings of fear, sadness, and even anger in them. Although these reactions are natural, it’s essential to recognize that frequent relocations, especially during certain developmental stages, may pose challenges related to school, emotional well-being, and social skills.

For parents, this underscores the importance of thoughtful preparation to minimize the impact of a move on their children. In the following discussion, we’ll explore relevant research findings and offer some tips to make the relocation experience less disruptive for your family.

Unfortunately, studies suggest that even a single move can potentially harm school-age children. Research from the MacArthur Foundation on childhood relocations indicates that any move during this period is associated with a nearly half-year loss in educational attainment. Moreover, it correlates with lower educational achievements and diminished earnings in adulthood.

While very young children (newborns to five-year-olds) generally experience fewer long-term effects, those between six and ten years old may encounter significant short- and long-term impacts. Moves during this critical developmental stage are linked to a staggering 44% decrease in later earnings. Additionally, individuals who undergo multiple relocations during childhood are more likely to report lower life satisfaction and psychological well-being as adults.

The potential detriment of moves during ages six to ten, known as middle childhood, stems from the formative nature of this period, filled with crucial social, emotional, and academic milestones. Frequent relocations during this time can lead to setbacks in meeting these milestones, resulting in behavioral, academic, and social challenges. The experience of moving may also instill feelings of powerlessness and profound loss in children, contributing to these issues.

What can parents do to mitigate the impact of relocation on their children? If possible, it’s advisable to postpone the move until the end of the school year. Uprooting children without allowing them to complete their current curriculum or bid farewell can cast the move in a negative light. Instead, efforts should be made to ensure a positive experience.

Sharing the news early is crucial. While there may be strong initial reactions, engaging in open communication provides children with the opportunity to express concerns and ask questions. Acknowledging their emotions and responding with empathy helps them feel heard. Involving children in the moving process, whether through collaborative decision-making or participating in tasks like choosing paint colors, can also foster a sense of control and excitement.

Ultimately, the goal is to focus on the positive aspects of the move and avoid dwelling on the negative. For those interested in delving deeper into the impacts of relocation on children, an accompanying resource offers further information.

Infographic provided by Move Central, professional long distance movers

Author bio: Stan Caramalac is the founder and CEO of Move Central. He started the company because he truly believed that moving could be simple as long as it was done efficiently. He strives to help people make their moves smoother and less stressful. Caramalac and his team proudly serve San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and the Bay Area.