Kids on the Move, A Relocation Workbook is a scrapbook, photo album, and activity book to help kids say goodbye, enjoy their move, and celebrate their new home. There is plenty of room for processing feelings, collecting memories, and anticipating the future. Great for kids ages 3 – 12 (younger children will need parental help).
On Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Relocation-Workbook-Leah-Moorefield-Evans/dp/1503196585/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425144564&sr=8-1&keywords=leah+moorefield+evans
Embassy Kids Coloring Book is a 40-page book full of coloring pages that explain who you might find in an embassy, what the embassy does, and what resources might be available to help your family. Learn what some of those abbreviations mean and draw a few pictures of your own. This is great for kids and adults who like to color.
On Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Embassy-Kids-Coloring-Moorefield-Evans/dp/1507828489/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1425144564&sr=8-2&keywords=leah+moorefield+evans
American-History-in-a-Box is a correspondence course for elementary children who want to learn the major concepts in American History as set forth in the Virginia Standards of Learning. Includes 10 – 14 award winning non-fiction and fiction, 4 -5 fun games and puzzles, and basic supplies. Reimbursable for some FS families, email email@example.com for your “Reimbursement Approval Request” form.
Relocating to a new home this spring or summer? Start preparing your kids now! Here are our top five tips for getting your kids ready to relocate.
- Create a timeline. Using butcher paper or taping several pieces of paper together, divide the paper into sections for each month surrounding your preparation for your move, your actual move, and your time settling in. Then, write what will happen in each month. Include purging, packing, farewell parties, the actual move, unpacking, exploring your neighborhood, writing to old friends, starting school, etc. Include all the big stuff but also include as many details as possible. Then, review on a regular basis.
- Have family meetings once a week. Go over your calendar and/or timeline. Ask everyone how they are doing. Share complaints and concerns. End with a discussion of what you are excited about!
- Make a to-do list for every kid. Even little kids can have items such as picking their favorite toys to put in their suitcase, sweeping up their room after the packers have left, and writing their name or symbol on each box of their toys and clothes.
- Research your new home. Gather as much information as possible and share it with your kids so they have a sense of where they are going. Use the internet, order videos, read books about your new home. If possible, share pictures of your new house, school, and neighborhood. Make a list of places you want to visit when you are there.
- Start planning how you will say good-bye. It is important to feel like there is closure. Plan a party to say farewell to friends, plan a farewell tour to stop by and take a picture of all of your favorite places.
For help with some of these activities, and many more, you can purchase our Relocation Workbook. This gives you one central location for storing photos and memories, planning for the move, and celebrating your new home. For more information, click here: RELOCATION WORKBOOK
This workbook is part scrapbook, part photo album, part planner, and part activity book. Kids will love the illustrations, activities, and ideas to help make for a smoother move. Younger children can complete the book with the help of parents and children who can write and read can complete the book on their own. Appropriate for ages 3 – 12. This is a great place to compile pictures and memories of your former home and to revisit during times of questions, concern, and homesickness.
Relocating with Kids
As an expat family that moves every few years, we think long and hard about the impact of transitions on children. We are almost done with our Relocation Workbook for elementary children and look forward to sharing it with you here. This is our cover for the book:
How experienced are we? Well, experienced enough to know we don’t have all the answers. In the last ten years we have lived for six months or more in seven places (four countries). Our list of moves is much higher thanks to problems with houses, maternity medevacs (from foreign countries) and shorter training stints. Like most parents in this lifestyle, we worry constantly about what we are doing to our children.
In the Family
I grew up on a farm in Ohio and never moved for one single second. My parents are still living on that farm! But, my mother grew up with a family that moved frequently, spending most of her time in Egypt, London, New York, and Washington DC. After she got married, she moved to the previously mentioned farm and hasn’t budged since. My husband great up with frequent moves and is one of those who has a hard time explaining where he is from or exactly where his un-accent grew on him. Of course, being a nomad is much easier than it used to be. Instead of infrequent “airmail” envelopes, we Skype, email, Facebook, text, and send pictures on a daily basis. My kids feel like they know their grandparents well because they talk to them every Saturday morning on the computer. But, there are still challenges, especially when changing residence. We love articles about what gives kids a sense of place and of “home.”
Building “Place” during transition…
From our readings and observations, we think these are the five best tips for creating a sense of place in children.
- Emphasize that “home” is family, not a place.
- Share family history. Talk about adversity, successes, challenges, and flexibility found in your family. Build a sense of place around a history of stories. Share who your ancestors were, where they came from, and how they faced challenges.
- Say a proper good-bye. When leaving a place, visit your favorite spots, take lots of pictures, hug the people you love. Allow sadness and mourning. Cry. Rant. Buy some expensive thing as a parting gift. Go eat at all those favorite restaurants. Take a farewell tour.
- Say a proper hello. When arriving at a new home make a list of places to visit. Find a new favorite restaurant as soon as you can. Introduce yourself to people and places. Introduce yourself to the manager at your grocery store and your dry cleaner. Say “hello, here I am, I’m new” to everyone and everyplace. Explore. Be excited and enthusiastic.
- Live in the moment. Mourn for your old place, celebrate your new place, and then live where you are. Try to really avoid the “when we lived in….” statements. Try not to compare. Try to say as many positive things as you can about your new home. Ask for help. Ask people to be your friend. Appreciate where you are.
There are many more tips and tricks, these are but a few. Another key point to remember, especially for me, is that moving is hard. It takes awhile to put down roots. Remind your kids that the first couple of months are tough. Commiserate, but look forward. Things will get better. Good luck. We are in this right now and looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Our last post explored some ideas for helping children say goodbye when moving to a new home. Now, we have a few ideas about looking forward and getting excited about a new home. These ideas have been collected from a variety of wise parents, helpful books, and through nine years of trial and error (and through six international moves).
We usually focus on saying goodbye for our last couple of weeks. But, we also take time to look forward to our new home. We want to get excited about what we will see, who we will meet, and what we will do. This is our process.
- We make a list of kid-friendly tourist spots and then watch videos on Youtube.com to get an idea of the history, the culture, and any tourist destinations. We keep it to about 6 to 8 concepts and try to explore them in detail.
- Using social networking sites, we try to find a pen pal for our kids. We find it most helpful to find a family who has kids in the general age range of our children. Then, we send lots of emails asking questions. Each child can ask any question they would like and we ask for answers from the children. We have had some pretty awesome emails using this method. (My four year old daugther: Do you have unicorns and princesses there? Five year old male penpal: Yuck, no way.)
- Working as a family, we make our own “Arrival Scavenger Hunt” of things we want to find. We try to keep it short, usually to about ten items. The list might look like this: ice cream parlor, blueberries, swimming pool, kid-friendly restaurant, bike store for Dad, yoga studio for mom, construction site with lots of machines at work, horse stable with riding lessons, playground, grocery store.
- Each child gets to pick out one new special toy and send it ahead so it will be waiting at the new house.
- Searching bookstores and online stores, we try to find one guide book for the parents and any guidebooks or works of fiction or non-fiction for the children.
- Our oldest children do an online search to come up with five facts about our new home that we can use when talking to friends. Then, we work on summarizing so that we have a short description of our new home.
- When the movers come to our house, we take some time to let each child decorate the boxes that hold their stuff. On the side of the box, we let each child write a short note to themselves. “Dear Me in Four Months, How are you? I’m sad to leave but excited to see you in xxxx. I just went to our favorite park here and played with my favorite friend. We were talking about you and wondering what you think. Are you happy? Do you like it there? What is your favorite thing? Much love, Me in xxxx old house.
Moving is hard, we all know that. But, some preparation can help ease the pain and give children something to look forward to amidst the chaos. Let us know if you have any other great ideas to add to our list!
Our family of six plus our invisible dog!
As we prepare for yet another move, I’m working hard to help my children transition with as much ease as possible. My two and four year old children will probably be fine. They are still adaptable and flexible and, frankly, a bit clueless. My six year and eight year old children are leaving good friends, a wonderful school, and many memories behind. I’m trying to help them capture those memories and feel as if they can leave a bit of themselves behind as well.
I’ve searched the web for great ideas and asked everyone I know who is experienced in moving (we are surrounded by these gurus, luckily). This has been my plan for this move. I hope to improve on it for the next time!
- Each child made a list of there three favorite places (it ended up being four each). Then, we painted American pennies to personalize them. We visited each place and took lots of pictures and left a penny in a secret spot. Then, we found a small stone or pebble and each child put them in a tiny drawstring bag that we labeled with the name of the city. So, we took a bit with us and we left a bit of ourselves behind.
- Each child picked two to three favorite friends and we made “Circle Journal” packets for them. In a large manilla envelope we included a blank journal (each child decorated the cover and then wrote a special letter to the friend on the inside.) We also include four stamped and addressed envelopes to our new address. We added a book of stamps, three pages of fun stickers, a pen, and a pack of markers for drawing and decorating.
- We hosted a “Goodbye Friends” playgroup. Each child invited as many friends as they wanted and we had cookies, juice, and milk (wine and cheese for the adults). We had initially thought about a BBQ or dinner party but decided to keep it simple and easy since we would be in the middle of packing and organizing.
- Together, we wrote a letter to the Director of the school thanking the teachers and other staff for a wonderful experience. We wrote a paragraph about each teacher. Then, we took pictures of each child with their teacher and turned the pictures into greeting cards. Each child wrote a personal letter to their teacher and I included a note as well. We attached the cards to a decadent box of chocolates and presented them on the last day.
- For the last day of school, each child took a bunch of cookies and juice for a last day celebration (we left before the year was over, so this was possible.)
- When the packers came we took the excellent advice of letting the kids decorate and label the boxes that contain their own things. We labeled them with the child’s name and our destination. This helped cement the fact that we would be reunited with our stuff very soon!
There are so many great ideas to help children transition when they move. Since we move every two to three years, this is important to my entire family. We leave in a week, so we’ll see if we actually were prepared and if the transition is as smooth as I hope. Many thanks to all the moving experts out there who helped me come up with a concrete moving plan to ease the transition for my kids. Let’s hope it works!
Will your child switch schools within the next year? The U.S. Census says that 2 million people with children move each year, and most of those children switch schools. My family moves every two to three years and we are working on perfecting our moving system. This time, we are going to try a few things that encourage reading and writing while also helping letting go of the old and celebrating the new.
- Make a Scrapbook. We are creating a family scrapbook. Each child includes a page of favorite friends, favorite places, and favorite things. As a family, we work together on pages titled “Home,” “Favorite Restaurants,” “Favorite Activities,” and “Things We Won’t Miss.” We will also create a timeline and include pictures and a brief description of birthdays, celebrations, and interesting events.
- Leave a Memento. Before leaving a home, each child leaves behind a part of themselves. My eldest child leaves a stone from our home base in Ohio. My middle child has a stack of patches that she made from a favorite shirt when she was a child. My youngest child bought a bunch of princess hearts that count as her treasure. Each child finds a spot special to them. It might be a favorite park, a corner in their bedroom, or a spot at their school. They gently tuck their treasure into a secret spot and leave it, leaving a part of themselves in their old home.
- Find an Artifact. With each move, we allow each child to find a special artifact to remind them of their home. The artifact needs to be a small found object that easily fits into their “Artifact Bag.” Usually, they select a coin, a beautiful rock, or a pressed flower. They put these artifacts together in the small bag and can take out the objects to talk about why they selected them at any time.
- Stay Connected with the People. In our family, we each pick one person that we want to keep in touch with the most. Each child makes a circle journal packet. They include a small journal, ten manila envelopes with our new address, stamps, stickers, markers, and a list of “letter writing topic ideas.” They write a letter in the journal explaining why they picked this person for their pen pal and saying what they will miss the most about that person. Then, we ask them to write back and send the journal to our new home so it is waiting for us. Then, we can keep in touch and get mail on a regular basis from our old home.
- Celebrate the New Home. Celebrating the new home could be it’s own topic. We do that by making lists before we get there of restaurants, parks, and tourist sites we want to visit. We work our connections to find friends to write to before we arrive to ask for advice and suggestions. Then, when we arrive we spend five minutes every night talking about three wonderful things we found about our new home.
Of course, moving is challenging no matter what one does. Here are some books to help start conversations about moving:
- The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day, Stan and Jan Berenstain
- Big Ernie’s New Home: A Story for Young Children Who Are Moving, Teresa Martin and Whitney Martin
- The Moving Book: A Kids’ Survival Guide, Gabriel Davis and Sue Dennan
- New Kid, New Scene: A Guide to Moving and Switching Schools, Debbie Glasser, Ph.D., Emily Schenke
- Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move, Judith Viorst, Robin Glasser