14 Signs Your Child Isn’t Coping with a Move

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Most of us will move at least once or twice in our lives, and many of us will do that over as parents which means our children will move with us. That means we need to take extra special care that our move has as little impact on our little ones as possible. The thing is, no matter how hard you try to make your moves as fun and exciting as possible for your kids, sometimes, they just won’t feel it.

That being the case, it is always a good idea to know the signs that your child is having a hard time with a move…

1. Clingy Like Saran Wrap

If your child, who was once as independent as a cat, suddenly can’t let you out of their sight, consider this a red flag. Clinginess post-move is like their way of saying, “Hey, everything around me has changed, and I need a little extra reassurance that you’re not going anywhere too.” It’s sweet, in a heart-wrenching kind of way.

2. Mood Swings Like a Pendulum

One minute they’re fine, the next they’re melting down over the color of their socks. If your child’s mood is swinging more than a pendulum once the movers have left you all to it, it’s a sign they might be struggling with the upheaval. Kids thrive on predictability, and a move is about as predictable as a plot twist in a telenovela.

3. Sleeping Patterns? What Sleeping Patterns?

Is your child suddenly channeling their inner night owl or, conversely, sleeping like they’re preparing to hibernate? Changes in sleeping patterns can be a big indicator that the stress of moving is wreaking havoc on their little bodies. Whether it’s trouble falling asleep or sleeping too much, it’s worth a closer look.

4. School Grades Taking a Dive

If your child’s grades start to look like they’re trying to dig to China, it might be more than just a tough math chapter. A significant move can disrupt their concentration and diminish their motivation, especially if they feel like the new outsider in class or are missing their old buddies.

5. Social Butterfly No More

Did your once chatty Kathy suddenly turn into a wallflower? Changes in social behavior, like retreating from friendships or not wanting to participate in activities they once loved, can signal that your child is struggling to adjust to the new environment. It’s like they’ve lost their social GPS and can’t quite find the way to Friendville.

6. The Great Regression

Suddenly, your third-grader is acting like they’re back in kindergarten—thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, the works. Regression can be a child’s response to seeking comfort in familiarity. Think of it as their version of comfort food. It’s not great for the waistline, or in this case, their development.

7. Physical Symptoms Out of Nowhere

Headaches, stomachaches, and other mysterious ailments that would make a daytime soap opera proud can sometimes be the physical manifestations of stress. If your child is frequently under the weather post-move and the doctor is scratching their head, stress might just be the culprit.

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8. Old Hobbies? What Are Those?

If your child suddenly drops their hobbies like hot potatoes, take note. Whether it’s ballet shoes gathering dust or a soccer ball that’s now a very expensive dog toy, losing interest in their passions can be a distress signal. It’s like they’re saying, “I’m too overwhelmed to even think about scoring goals or pirouetting right now.”

9. Turned into a Little Liar

Finding that your little angel has suddenly started fibbing about homework, chores, or how they’re feeling? It might be their way of trying to maintain control over something, anything, when everything else feels like it’s spinning. It’s not ideal, but it’s their little-kid strategy for handling big-kid problems.

10. Attachment to Gadgets

In today’s digital age, it’s no shocker that kids love their screens. But if your child is suddenly glued to their device more intensely than before, it could be their escape route from reality. It’s like they’ve created their own little digital bunker to hide away from the uncertainties of their new world.

11. Food Fights

And we’re not talking about the fun kind. Changes in eating habits eating too much, too little, or turning into a picky eater overnight can all be signs of emotional distress. It’s like their stomach is on the same rollercoaster their life just took.

12. Reluctance to Discuss the New Setting

A telltale sign that a child may not be coping well with a move is their reluctance to talk about the new house, school, or neighborhood. If they change the subject quickly or show disinterest or discomfort when discussing their new settings, they might be having a hard time feeling at home there.

13. Expressing Regret or Making Idealized Comparisons

Children might express regret about the move or constantly compare everything unfavorably with “how things were.” If your child often remarks that everything was better at the old place or romanticizes their past before the move excessively, they may be expressing deep dissatisfaction with their current situation.

14. Just a Gut Feeling

It’s really important to trust your parental instincts. You know your child better than anyone. If your spidey senses are tingling that something’s off, chances are, something is. Don’t ignore your gut—it’s like the parental superpower.

Moving is tough no matter how old you are – in fact it is one of the most stressful life events you can ever go through – but it can be especially tough on kids who don’t really have much say in the move at the end of the day.

The good news is, if you know how to spot the signs they are finding things tough (and if you’ve read this far then that should be a given) you can help them work through their feelings and come to terms with the move, Once they are really settled in, and you’ve helped them process it all, they should be just fine, so try not to worry too much!

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