When you think of Southern California, you likely think about the area’s sunny skies, warm temperatures, sandy beaches, and endless activities. However, SoCal is so much more. The region ranks high for diversity, culture, schools, career opportunities, agriculture, and wellness, making it one of the best places to live and raise a family. If the above attributes have convinced you that San Diego or other Southern California cities are your next home, it’s a move you’ll be proud you made.
As you prepare to move to SoCal, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the logistics of relocating; including finding a home, packing, hiring movers, and getting settled into your new place. While those things are essential, if you’re moving with kids, you should also consider the emotional impact this transition will have on their lives.
Before the Move
Identifying, understanding, and supporting your kids is essential to ensuring that everyone comes to appreciate and enjoy SoCal living. Below are some steps parents can take to help their kids adjust before moving.
Bring Them in The Loop
Your kids don’t need to know the moment you start contemplating a move. However, once you’ve decided and found your SoCal dream home, it’s time to bring them in the loop. You’ll want to allow them to sit with the idea, grieve, and prepare for this next chapter in their lives.
Have a family meeting and discuss the move. Listen to what your kids have to say and validate their feelings. Answer the questions you can and be okay with sharing when you don’t know the answer. Show them photos of the house and point out the positives that can help ease their fears or frustrations about moving.
Allow Them to Grieve
Kids five and younger may not feel one way or another about moving. They often feed off your emotions. So, if you’re excited about living in SoCal, they’ll also be excited. On the other hand, older children will likely experience some level of fear, anxiety, and frustration. They may feel like their world is over as they must leave behind what was familiar and adjust to something new. Teens, in particular, will struggle the most as they’re in a critical stage in their lives that’s already filled with emotional highs and lows.
Don’t reprimand or punish your kids for grieving. Give them the space they need to process their emotions. Be there to be a listening ear when asked and provide solutions to their questions. It may take time, but eventually, they’ll learn to adapt.
Create Fun Memories
Before your scheduled moving date, find ways to create fun memories for your kids. These events and activities will give them a sense of closure and something positive to look back on if they start feeling down. Host a going away party, plan play dates or sleepovers, and spend quality time doing things you’ve always loved from your old neighborhood.
Lastly, ensure that your kids get contact information for anyone they’re close to so they can keep in touch after moving.
After the Move
It takes time for kids to adjust to a move. Although it won’t happen overnight, there are some things parents can do to make the process easier.
Stick to Normal Routines
Structure and routines help children adjust faster. While some things may change (i.e., start time for school or work, etc.), do the best you can to maintain the same routines. It helps them feel control and familiarity as they learn how to adapt and appreciate their new environment.
Enroll Them in Fun Activities
Being the new kid on the block is never easy. You can help your kids get acquainted with other children by enrolling them in youth activities in the school, community center, or neighborhood. Whether it’s a local sports team or an art and theater club, if it ties to your child’s interests, they will have an easier time socializing with others and adjusting to life in SoCal.
There’s no timeline on when a child will adjust to moving, but if you notice their negative emotions and behaviors continuing after a few months, you may need help. Teens may have the most challenging time and start acting out through isolation, moodiness, poor eating habits, defiance, unfavorable academic performance, violence, and substance abuse. If these red flags are present, reaching out to a SoCal Treatment Center for teens is advised.
DBT For Teens in California
Southern California Treatment Centers for teens offer a safe and healthy environment for your children to share their deepest fears and overwhelming emotions. DBT for teen in California is a therapeutic technique that counselors use to help teens to manage their feelings, change their behaviors, and improve their quality of life.
Families are flocking to Southern California, but relocating your family is an all-encompassing process. Although it’s essential to focus on the logistics, parents are encouraged to remember the emotional effect this change can have on their kids. Using the advice above before and after the move, you can make the transition to SoCal living easier for everyone.