This summer’s animated movie Inside Out was a big hit with children and their parents. The story of Riley, an 11-year-old girl who moves from Minnesota to San Francisco when her father gets a new job, was called “an animated therapy session” by Jason Fraley, film reviewer for WTOP. The filmmakers’ brilliantly original idea was to personify Riley’s emotions. Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness are all characters who live in Headquarters, the control center of Riley’s mind. Her emotions battle it out as she adjusts to all the challenges of moving house and starting over in a new city and a new school. My grandsons enjoyed the movie and perhaps it helped them because they too moved house this summer. They didn’t go as far away as Riley, but for children the adjustments involved can’t really be measured in miles. And parents, however thorough the planning, must be prepared to embrace a certain amount of chaos. “I know I packed the diapers where we couldn’t fail to find them!” and “Did we forget the cats?”
For any parents planning a move in the near future, here are some library books to share with your children.
Picture books for the very young:
For older children:
- Moving by Vic Parker
- New Kid New Scene, a guide to moving and switching schools by Glasser and Schenck
- Why Do We Have to Move? Helping your child adjust by Cynthia MacGregor
Of course there is plenty of advice on the web, but beware of sites that just want to steer you to a particular moving company. Here are some helpful articles from trusted sources:
- Helping Children Adjust to a Move – HealthyChildren.org
- Moving is Tough for Kids – Psychologytoday.com
- Preparing Your Child for a Move – KidsHealth.org
Not all children will react the same way to a move and some may present parents and grandparents with completely unexpected emotions. At one point my eldest grandson sobbed floods of tears. He explained that he was crying because it was so sad that the baby of the family wouldn’t be able to remember his first house. Of course the baby was blissfully unaware of the drama of it all.
The best advice I can give is to let the children do some of their own packing and carrying, like the children on these book covers. It warmed the heart of this librarian to see the boys eagerly packing their favorite books along with all those stuffed animals.
Now the move is behind us and adjustment to new schools has begun. Before long it will be time to tackle the most important question after a move: where to put the Christmas tree in the new house!