We all know that kids pick up on everything, and when you are in transition this is truer than ever. All of your stress, your anxiety, your kids pick up on it.
In our situation, we often get told we have to move but we don’t always know exactly when or where to, just that it’s time for us to move on. Because of the uncertainty, we generally don’t tell the girls anything. We wait until we know where we are going and we have a date. Then we can share what’s happening, helping them to understand what to expect. Unfortunately, the girls pick up on the stress and anxiety that comes with the uncertainty. They know something is up, but they don’t know what.
It is these times when an extra cuddle is so important. An extra story together. Taking time to have a cup of tea together and just chat. Involving them in the cooking or being able to ‘help’ me in anything I’m doing it is so important to them. While it is tempting to just give them a device because I want the space, this doesn’t actually help them or me in the long run. Connecting with them is what they need, but frankly so do I. Nothing calms me more than a big cuddle from my favourite girls!
Likewise if you are moving, when you arrive in your new location you need to make time to connect with the kids. Yes, you have a big ‘to do’ list but you have to make a conscious effort to sit and give them a cuddle and just talk to them. They are feeding off your stress and anxiety, find a way to have a positive moment together.
Once they start their new school, the same applies. You know they’re experiencing a raft of emotions. Help them through that time with cuddles, conversation and connection.
At this point, take the time to connect with the school too. Yes, the staff know you’re new and they understand you are busy. But don’t let the opportunities slip. Be present at drop off and pick up – even if you kids will eventually use the bus. You need to get to know the school and the people.
If there is an opportunity, volunteer! Put your hand up and get involved. It doesn’t matter that you’re new or that you don’t know anyone yet. It is the best way to meet other parents and learn more about what’s happening in the classroom and on campus.
Ask around who else shares your interests, does anyone else enjoy going for a bike ride, painting, learning a language. Find people with similar interests, and ask them if you can join them or start something together. Don’t wait to be invited, because people are busy, they forget your new and sometimes that invitation doesn’t come. Be brave and bold and make it happen for yourself.
And let’s not forget hubby. If you have moved for his role then no doubt he is going through a settling phase at work too. When he comes home, don’t bombard him with questions, just give him time and space. But when he does want to talk, really listen. Put your device down, and really hear what he is sharing with you. In the first few weeks I light candles and have music playing, not only because I love listening to music, but it creates an atmosphere that is conducive to talking. If the TV is on, we just stare at it and no conversation happens. Be conscious of creating an environment that supports a connection between you and hubby during what is probably one of the more stressful periods of your lives together.
So if you’re about to move or have recently moved, what’s my biggest tip… connect! With your kids, with hubby, with your new school, with your new community!
How do you keep the connection with your kids during a period of change? How do you ensure you connect at school? Please do share your tips in the comments.