Effects Of Moving On Children

by Allison LaTona, MFT

 Allison LaTona, MFT is a Twigtale Parenting Educator & Child Development Expert.

Moving is a big transition for the whole family.  And, for children, it can really disrupt their sense of safety and security.  The effects of moving can manifest in many ways such as  aggression, defiance, increased separation anxiety, and augmented sleep cycles.  After all, you are moving from your child's place of comfort and safety, bringing up varied feelings of sadness, fear, and insecurity.  The best way to minimize these effects is by preparing your child for the move in advance.

When you deliver the message that the family is moving, it is important to emphasize to your child that moving means everyone in the family is moving– parents, siblings, pets.  And…it also means that all their favorite things will be coming too!

All that really matters to children is the feeling of safety and security.  You and their toys (extensions of themselves) are what create that feeling.  When an unprepared child sees a moving truck drive off with all their things, he does not know the truck is bringing those things to the new house, which can be a traumatic experience for a child.

So, since children need you to make sense of their experience, be sure to explain what is changing. Also, since children thrive on predictability and routine, be sure to emphasize what will remain the same.  The family will remain the same, the favorite toys will remain the same, the routine will remain the same.  And most importantly, the love that you all share as a family will continue to be the same, no matter where you live.

Expect to be met with a variety of feelings.  Your child may be excited about the new “adventure” while apprehensive at the same time.  Talk with your child about the two feelings he is experiencing – one excited or happy, and one sad or worried – and reassure that it’s okay to have two feelings.  Children may express their feelings non-verbally, through new behavior, night wakings, aggression, defiance or clinging. The better you prepare your child by letting him know what is happening and by giving him the opportunity to have all of his feelings, the more easily he will move through the transition.

Because the visualization of the new home, moving day, saying goodbye to the current home, and dealing with complex feelings are so important to ease the transition, we wrote a Twigtale book to help you with the language and the story.  Since it’s personalized with pictures of your home and your family, it is super engaging and effective for your child.  It's easy-to-make and only takes a few days to receive!

For more on Allison, check out http://www.twigtale.com/author/allison-latona-mft.

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Allison is a noted parenting consultant and psychotherapist. Her work empowers parents with the vision and tools to create thriving and fulfilling family lives, and fosters long-term connections within a supportive community.

Allison has nineteen years of experience counseling children, families, couples and individuals, and has facilitated groups in private practice, as well as at Santa Monica’s Babygroup with Donna Holloran, MSW, for over a decade.  With fourteen years “in the trenches” raising two young children of her own, Allison’s personal path complements her professional credentials.

Twigtale helps you make personalized photo books, scripted by child development experts, to help your children through important developmental milestones and difficult transitions. 


Effects Of Moving On Children was originally published on June 9, 2014. Modifications to style, arrangement, and linked sources were made on December 10, 2015.