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How much change is too much?

June 21, 2011

Hubby and I seem to make it a habit of making a bunch of changes all at once, then hanging around for the next 7-14 years before tossing everything up in the air again.

The year we met I quit drinking, moved out of my parents’ house (much to my mother’s displeasure), dropped out of school, shacked up, moved 2 more times, my father died, I learned to drive and started working at the company that was acquired by the company I now work for (in exactly 384 days).

Six to seven years later said company was acquired, hubby changed jobs, graduated college, we got married and bought a house.

Fourteen years later and we’re only buying a house. But we’re imposing a huge amount of change on our three and a half year old daughter. She’s changing houses, leaving her daycare and her bestest friends in the whole world, (her daddy is getting his hair chopped off a couple of days before we move), starting a new daycare and then starting kindergarten in the fall.

We’ve been very open with her, talking about the change, how exciting it will be in the new location. We’ve been spending increasing amounts of time at the new house, and are slowly moving her items over there (our movers are coming for the furniture July 2nd). We bring her on adventures around the new neighbourhood (thank you Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!)

But now the child who has never much blinked an eye at change (after 21 months home with us she barely tossed us a wave on her first day at daycare) is up crying about not wanting to go to kindergarten, she doesn’t want me to go to work, she’s become more difficult to put to bed again and I need help, advice, experience.

What can I do to help her with this? We’ve already asked her about decorating her room, making it exciting and including her in the decisions that are really out of her control (the move is a go, but she can have a say what her new room looks like – and she picked out her room). Unfortunately she wavers between a new colour (green) and a mural on the wall or the same colour as her current room, replicated there with her butterfly decals moved over too. I’m not sure which is better, thoughts?

She’ll help out with the packing if we’re doing it when she’s around, but now I’m wondering if the move isn’t too much of her life. But then, if we ship her off when we’re packing, a – she’s shipped off and b – everything is changed when she gets back.

We’ve discussed having her friends over to the new house, and she already has summer parties planned, so there is some level of acceptance, but then there seems to be a whole bunch of anxiety as well.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kellie permalink
    June 21, 2011 7:56 am

    Kids will adapt ….at every age their reaction to change will be a little different, but they do adjust and in most cases pretty quickly. Keep doing what your doing and I like the fact that you are keeping her involved in the decisions she can make, and making the move an adventure! (thats what we always tried to do) Once the move is done, you will get back to (yours/hers) routines and all the Summer activities!! Don’t worry about Kindergarten that would have happened either way and a few weeks in and she will make all new friends and life will resume back to normal 🙂 V will be just fine once its all said and done! She is a smart beautiful lil girl!

    • June 21, 2011 10:50 am

      Whew! Well if there’s anyone to get moving advice from it’s you guys! Thanks Kel. It just breaks my heart to see her soooo upset.

  2. Kellie permalink
    June 21, 2011 12:27 pm

    Oh I know it rips you….when she gets down focus on the positive stuff…..Lil Sam has adjusted well to his new country life but still has moments when he wishes he was back in Ottawa with his friends….this week was edgy because he would have graduated gr 6 with all his friends….they had the Class of 11 shirts and did a trip to La Ronde, so he was sad to miss that……the school he is in now goes from K – 12 …they have a small grad for the grade 8’s so that will be it for him before high school… I quickly changed the subject to how much stuff he has gotten to do that would not have happened if we stayed in Ottawa, and he seemed OK with that. Always rough but ….in the end they will be OK!

  3. Anita permalink
    June 21, 2011 6:24 pm

    sounds like you are doing a great job including her. It’s challenging at any age but they do adapt as your friend Kellie said. They suggest that if you are going to move, it should happen before the end of grade 3 as after that friendships become more solidified. You’re at a good age and being as being as open, supportive and inclusive is a phenomenal way to approach it. Best of luck, time heals a lot of wounds and in the meantime – lots of hugs and patience. Sean had some tears the first two days after we moved a few years ago but he settled into the house very well and has no residual scars (at age 3 which is a bit younger) except he does not want to move, ever (which apparently includes after high school, marriage and children, LOL).

  4. June 26, 2011 3:10 pm

    I agree with the other comments in that it sounds like you are doing everything you can possibly do to make this easier on her. Change is hard for everyone sometimes, and she will adjust. Yes, there may be tears, but she will be fine. Best of luck with the move. I can’t imagine packing and moving with a little one. Don’t forget to take care of yourself in all of this too…moving house is stressful for adults too!

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