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Tips to help teens move

By Diane Schmidt

A move is difficult enough for most of us, but even more so for a teen who is already
experiencing his or her own age-related issues. Add on a move and their life just became a
whole lot more complicated. Leaving behind friends, their school and a neighbourhood they
may have grown up in is especially hard on this age group.

Preparing for the Move

Suggest they buy a journal, or if you think it will be accepted, purchase one for them. A
“moving journal” is a great place for your son or daughter to express how they’re feeling
about this major change. It’s also a way for them to capture the moment, add in pictures
of their friends, neighbourhood and home. Suggest it as a kind of scrapbook that they can
look back on when they’re settled into their new home.

If you’re still looking for that perfect house, ask the teenagers in your family for their
input. Find out what they’d like, what kind of bedroom they would prefer and if possible,
what they look for in a neighbourhood. Getting their input early on in the process will help
involve them and make them feel like a part of the decision.

Once you’ve decided on a home, get details and share them with your family. Suggest
that each member chooses their room then suggest they think about the way they’d like
their space to look. Get them thinking of the space as theirs and the way to make it their
own. This will also help once you’ve moved, giving your son or daughter a project to work
on.

Suggest they research their new city or town. Ask them to find specific information that
will be relevant to your family; where is the local recreation facility or what is the name
of the ball team and when is registration?

Buy them an address book or a scrapbook where friends, teachers or coaches can sign
and provide e-mail addresses, birthdays, etc… so they can stay in touch.

Have your teen present when you register them for school. Suggest you take a tour and
find out if the school has a website. Research clubs and teams that they can join and if
you’re moving before the school year begins, sign them up for a summer club or team so
when they do begin school they will already recognize some friendly faces.

Ask your teen how they’d like to say goodbye to their friends. Do they want a party or
would they rather have a weekend get-together with a few friends? Find out, then help
them plan it.

Suggest they put together a moving kit. The kit can contain magazines, books, games,
things to keep them entertained on the way to the new home. It can also include maps of
the new neighbourhood, travel guides to the new city, lists of clubs and recreation
facilities and addresses of friends to whom they can send postcards of their journey.

Ask them to pack an essentials kit in addition to their moving kit. This kit can include
essential items they’ll need for the first few days in their new home; clothes, books,
personal things they can’t live without.

Give them a list of tasks to complete, such as packing their room, helping out with
younger siblings, helping in organizing a garage sale - whatever needs doing around the
house. Providing a task list to each member of the family, no matter what their age, helps
them feel like their contributing to the move.
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