Helping tweens say goodbye to friends when moving is one of the most important things a parent will do. Few people like to move and kids have an even harder time.
My kids have been uprooted more times than I (or they) care to count. Despite the upheavals, they have learned to adjust and are doing well in college and graduate school. Each time we relocated, we learned more about how to help our kids say goodbye to friends.
As parents, we found that helping tweens adjust to moving was made easier after they had a chance to say goodbye to friends in a meaningful way.
Breaking the news
Annually, one out of five families moves with children. Tweens need time to process the news before they can say goodbye to their friends. It is critical to pick a distraction free time to break the news.
The family meeting should be scheduled on a day that’s relatively free from distractions. Turn off the television, phones and mp3 players before breaking the news about moving.
Acknowledge your feelings
Helping tweens say goodbye because of moving is one of the toughest things you’ll do as a parent. As hard as it may be on you to leave your friends, it’s even harder on the kids to leave theirs. Talking about your feelings and acknowledging them helps the kids feel less alone.
Who to say goodbye to first
When moving, it’s important to let your tweens decide who to say goodbye to first. This helps them have more control over the situation. Best friends are the frequent go-to choice but not always. Encouraging your child to break the news to a friend away from the classroom can prevent a meltdown at school.
Create a photobook or scrapbook
Creating a keepsake for close friends can help them tweens say goodbye. Before moving, help your tween sort through any hard copy photos or clippings. Scan them to add to a slideshow or photobook. Let your tween give a copy to each close friend as a goodbye gift.
Throw a party
Parties are thrown for retirement or colleagues who are moving. Doing the same for tweens can help them say goodbye to their friends on a positive note.
One of our relocations involved moving to another state. To help our tweens say goodbye to their friends we hosted a ‘backyard best friends forever party’.
We bought a large kiddie pool for the tug-of-war game, an arsenal of water pistols and water balloons. Their friends were invited to bring their own wet gear. We ended the day with a cookout.
Years later, or former tweens still have fond memories of the party. The positive energy created good memories of saying goodbye to friends that moving would not erase.Sources: