Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Leaving town? Kids need closure too. 6 ideas to ease your move.

Six ideas to help ease your kids' transition out of town.
  1. Hold your own goodbye party and invite the families of your kids' friends too.  Make it a potluck (I'm big on potluck- so much easier!) and outside (again, easier!).
  2. Make a list of the 3 places you want to see again in your town before you leave and then see them!  You can change the number of places depending on the length of time you have before you go.  Take pictures and put them in the album in #3.
  3. The last month/week you are in town go around and take pictures of your kids with their favorite people (friends, teachers, neighbors) and in the places they went the most (school, library, tennis class, soccer field, ballet).  Make a cheap photo album with them and let them decorate the cover. Let them bring the album in their suitcase or carry-on.
  4. Use a shoe box or gift bag and let them fill it with "special things" from the place your leaving (flowers, peebles, bus tickets, things that won't fit in the album).  They can decorate the outside and bring it with them.
  5. At the end-of-the-school-year party, let their friends draw and write goodbye pictures and messages on a t-shirt or large poster board to bring with you.
  6. Always talk about your move in terms of an adventure!  Kids love adventures!  When you all start to bemoan all the places and people you are going to miss, acknowledge the difficulty with moving and commiserate, but then balance those sad thoughts with happy and exciting ones, all the places and new people you are going to see!  Do some research on the internet and find some cool places that you'll go to in your new town.  Talk them up!
Onward, nomads, onward! 

Spouses, any other ideas to smooth over the rough edges of "the move?"  Please share.


  1. What about moving for your first overseas assignment with a 16-year-old? Any ideas?
    He's generally well traveled - China/UAE/Oman - and all over the U.S., but has lived in the same house/town for 10 years now. Basically since he's been old enough to remember. My husband went overseas to Afghanistan for 2 years, is based in DC now, and has been assigned to Africa to start in August. Our son and I will stay behind until mid-November - until he finishes his first-trimester of his Senior year, which will complete all his graduation requirements. Then we'll go. Our son will then do some on-line education, and volunteer work overseas. And come home for graduation next May, then college in August. What do you think? How to make this positive and productive for him?

  2. If you are looking for ways for him to meet kids his own age, something that has started here in Belgrade for new kids is pen pal email correspondence between the new kids and kids at post. If you are with an embassy or company, ask the CLO or HR if they can ask some kids at post if they'd be willing to reach out. Kids here have been totally excited about it. They know how it feels so are extra helpful. Originally the CLO asked me if my kids would do it and then after the huge positive response sent an email out today listing all the new kids (and ages) that will be coming this summer and their (parent-provided) email. It's so nice to already have a friend before you land.

    He could also volunteer at the American Corners, lead teen English discussion groups, or make up a group of his own out of his own interests. The Corner isn't just for reading anymore! That will get him out meeting people. Depending on his interests and safety issues, you might want to see if there are any Peace Corps volunteers there. The organizations they work for always need help. Through both of these avenues, he could be volunteering and also be making friends close to his own age.

    There are also organizations that counsel students who want to study abroad (be it highschool or university). I would think he could contribute there. The U.S. Public Affairs section might be able to give you a list of the organizations with whom they collaborate from the arts, sports, media, and education. Making friends with kids his own age would seem to be pretty important.

    You may want to check out the Foreign Service Youth Foundation (http://www.fsyf.org).

    I'm brainstorming as I write, so if I'm totally off track of what you were inquiring of me, please let me know! I hope this helps!


Postcard Poem: My Serbian Mayfield