moving tips for kids with special needs

4 Moving Tips For Kids With Special Needs

Lately, it seems like the DFW area is full of people moving in and moving out.

Moving is always a challenge, but it’s especially challenging with our population of kids. Moving is emotional, it’s challenging, it’s a major, major life transition. And as difficult as it is for us, it’s harder on our kids. Here are some things you can do to help make a move easier for the kids.

Moving involves so many different components. Your kids might have to change schools—that’s a HUGE issue! Suddenly you’re not only changing a house but changing the educational environment. You may end up changing every place your child goes, and if that happens you need to do a lot more preparation work.

1. Start slowly and introduce your child to the house.

If you’re just doing a house move, we recommend creating a subtle introduction to that new environment. Go by the house and show it to the kids. Walk through the house. Take photos of the house. Maybe create a book on “My New House.” Talk about who will have which room. You can compare houses, showing how one room in the new house is like one room in the old house. You can tailor this to your child, and what makes them feel the most secure. Our advice is to make the transition slow and methodical, and as predictable as you can.

If you just show up at the house to move in without introducing your child to the house first, this can be extremely challenging.

When you’re moving to a new state, introducing your child to the house can be a huge challenge. You might not be able to visit the house multiple times, but you might be able to go take pictures or have the real estate agent go in and take multiple photos and send them to you on your computer. You can use those on your computer to create a story about the new house.

It’s critical that you make this process happen. If you don’t, you’re going to see a lot of tension in your child, because all of their predictability will have gone out the door, and they won’t know what to expect from their environment.

2. Provide stability however you can.

Amongst the chaos of packing up your home, try to provide some stability for your child. If they have a certain blanket they like or a certain game, things that provide comfort—make sure you keep those things available. Pack those things up last, or maybe carry them with the child. Whatever security you can provide, please do that. Remember that food can be a big issue, too. During the packing and the move try to maintain predictability with when and what they eat.

3. Give them some control.

If your child is able, have them present or even have them help with the packing process. They can put items in the box and can write on the box or draw a picture to say what’s in the box and where it goes. Include them in the process as much as you can, so they feel like they have some control over what’s going on. Our kids are sometimes controlling because they don’t like unpredictability. They control things to help give them a sense of security.

4. Stick to their schedule as much as possible.

Don’t stop therapy. Keep your child coming to therapy so that their schedule isn’t disrupted, and so that they get the support that therapy can provide.

Remember, those things that are making you upset and stressed are probably upsetting your child as well. See if you can create a therapeutic process. Talk with your therapist. They will give you huge insights into how you can manage things.

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