There are many reasons why you would move. Getting a new job, upgrading to a better place, or finding a better school system are all good reasons to pack up and move somewhere new. It’s stressful to leave friends and familiar places behind, but you know this move will make your lives better.
But for your child, the move can be even more stressful. They have no control over it, and now they have to find new friends in an unfamiliar school. Instead of hoping for the best, there are steps you can take to help your child avoid bullying (even cyberbullying) and fit in. It starts by understanding what your child may be thinking about the move.
How Kids Can Feel After Moving
Feeling that you have no control over your life is both stressful and demoralizing. You can feel like giving up if you don’t have any control. Although kids are not mature adults, they can still feel that way. They don’t decide where to go to school, when to go to be, and now, they can’t even control where they live.
As Time points out, changing schools is so stressful that it can bring out psychosis-like symptoms such as delusions or even hallucinations. Your child has lost their support network of friends, and they don’t even know where they can go after school to have fun.
Think of it this way. Remember how you felt starting a new job where you didn’t know anyone or even what language or behavior is expected of you? Add in the chance of cyberbullying, and you have how your child can feel after moving.
Creating A Low-Stress Move
With all the trauma a kid endures thanks to moving, you want to help. Here are some ways to help a child get through the move, such as:
- Involve them in the move. Talk to your child about it as soon as possible, and bring them along for house hunting and exploring the new community.
- Help them focus on the positives, such as what the new house has and your old one does not.
- On moving day, get your child’s room set up before others so they have a comfortable, familiar space to be in.
Both you and your child will face some stress over this move. While that’s inevitable, you can help by following Redfin’s advice on creating a low-stress home.
- Your body’s health affects your mood. Eat well and get plenty of exercise and sleep.
- Use the move as an excuse to declutter and get rid of some belongings. Reducing clutter helps a mind focus and process information more easily.
- Since nature has been shown to reduce stress, spend some time outdoors together. Also, bring some plants inside so nature is always around you both.
- Look into meditation, as it’s a great way to reduce stress and improve your mind.
Bullying And Cyberbullying
One problem that your child can easily face after moving is bullying. Bullies tend to target new kids at school because they are vulnerable. That’s why you need to have strong and regular communication with your child. Speak to them often about the new school. If they seem reluctant or anxious when talking about it, this can mean they are being bullied.
If so, you need to start by accepting your child’s reaction. No one can be strong all the time, so even though your child shouldn’t let bullies get to them, that’s not always possible. Speak to your child’s school once your child acknowledges any bullying.
You also have to watch for any signs of cyberbullying. Stopbullying.gov explains how this can be worse than regular bullying because it can quickly spread throughout the school and much farther.
You Can Help Your Child Adjust
The move needs to happen, but that doesn’t mean your child won’t get very stressed by it. Talk to your child throughout the process, get them involved, and ask them about bullying at their new school. Because if your child is having a good time in their new home, so will you.