After having spend almost five wonderful years in Munich we are re-patriating. I was wondering if your could share your views on how to help our sons saying goodbye. They are 11 and 9 years old.
Thx a lot
Helping Kids Say Goodbye
For children, one of the hardest things about any move is saying goodbye to friends. Making sure they have time to do this is important for them and can help make the move easier for the whole family. I have listed some suggestions for ways to make this process easier for you and your children.
Let them know you understand how important this process is.
For any child, this is one of the worst parts about moving. Make sure your children see that you understand and will do whatever you can to make saying goodbye special.
Give them the time and the opportunity to plan something special.
Give your children some reasonable options to pick from as a special going away event. Can they have a going away party at your home? Can you take them to their favorite hangout and invite some friends? Getting your children involved in planning something special will give them something positive to look forward to.
Help them to exchange gifts or remembrances.
Without a lot of money, your children could give presents to their friends as mementos. Maybe you could help them to create a scrapbook, make a unique picture frame or some other gift that would be special.
Invite your children's friends over to help with the packing and planning process.
It might be more fun for your children to have their friends involved. See if they can help plan a yard sale or help sort through your children’s closets full of toys or clothes.
Help them make a list of people and places they want to visit and say goodbye to.
Moving can be overwhelming, so help them make a list of things they want to do before the move. Are there neighbors they want to say goodbye to? A special teacher? A favorite hangout place? If their goodbyes are planned out, it will be less likely that they'll forget someone or regret something they never did that one last time.
Helping Kids Stay in Touch With Friends
Because saying goodbye to friends is one of the most difficult aspects of moving for your children, helping them find ways to stay in touch is really important. With all the new technology out there today, your children do not have to worry about keeping in contact with their friends, even after they change locations.
Make sure your children are prepared before you move.
Give them an organized way to keep track of names, telephone numbers, addresses and email addresses. The more info they have when they leave, the easier it's going to be to stay in touch.
Set up an email account for your children.
If your children are older, they probably already have an email account, but if not, help them to set one up. This is a great way for even young kids to keep in touch with their friends. Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo have easy, step-by-step directions on how to set up an account. With email, your children can send pictures and messages to their friends on a regular basis. Once they have an email account, your children can also set up the computer to chat in real time with their friends when they are online. When the account is set up, help them make mini-cards that have their email address on it, so they can pass it out to their friends.
Allow them to use social networking sites.
If your children are old enough, social networking sites are a great way for them to stay in contact with their friends. On sites like Facebook or Twitter, your children can post messages and pictures for their friends and visit their friends' sites in order to stay up to date on what's happening.
Allow them time to catch up with their friends.
If you have a set amount of time your children can spend on the phone or computer, consider extending it or being more flexible in the first few months after the move. Giving them more time with their old friends on the phone or online may make the moving process easier.
Encourage them to stay in touch.
Children might not think to send birthday cards or letters on their own, so encourage them to do so. Keep some extra stationary or cards available so when they feel like writing or sending a quick message, you are ready to help.
If you want to know more about the whole aspects of grief that is involved in moving you can go to my Parents Support Program here, or contact me directly for more information.