While there are huge benefits and joys of growing up in a ministry household, there are also some really difficult parts, like moving. This can often mean the loss of familiar places and friends. There are lots of wonderful techniques we've heard of parents using to help kids transition into a new school, community, and church, so we've taken a top five and made them into a quick list that we hope might help some PKs enjoy the adventure of moving to a new church community. :)
- Give Them Plenty of Notice: Once the move and moving day are set, find a fun way to tell younger kids you're moving to give them plenty of time to adjust and get used to the idea of living somewhere new (even going on an adventure!). Some suggest including older PKs in what decision making you can (ie. House layout, box packing codes, sorting their clothing etc) and give them realistic responsibilities that help towards moving so they have a sense of ownership and control over a difficult period of change.
- PenPal Sets: While moving may be difficult, getting mail can be very exciting at a new address (regardless of how old you are!). A simple letter writing kit (with your new address, paper, colourful envelopes, fun stickers, a few pens, and some stamps), can give a PK something to look forward to for weeks to come, and possibly even be the start of a lifelong friendship! If you have the resources, maybe even make a few for their best friends at church or school to give out before they leave.
- Moving Day Outing: Sometimes a special outing on moving day with a close friend or relative can take the stress and craziness out of moving for younger kids (and parents too!). They could be taken to a favourite park or shop in your old town, or even a tour of some new kid or youth friendly places in your new town, finishing with your new home. This might work best if they have already been to your new home and know it's moving day, so there are no unexpected surprises!
- Pack A Treasure Travel Box. Create a uniquely decorated box for each child that holds their most precious pieces safely. It can be decorated with photos, stickers, personal poetry or stories, whatever makes it feel special to them (maybe even decorate it with them). It can travel with them to your new home and be a reminder of familiar places while everything is changing.
- Organise A Catch Up In Advance. While a lot needs to be done after moving, not to mention adjusting to a new new church, school, and community, it can do PKs a world of good to see old places and faces a month or so after moving. Organising a time before you move to catch up can give them to look forward to if they are struggling with the changes. If the move takes you far way, Skype is a wonderful tool that can be used all over Australia for very little cost (A Skype hot chocolate is almost as fun as a face to face catch up!).