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Coping with a move: Keeping kids connected

Written by contributor Melissa Allen of Green Owl Art.

We moved to Portland about a month ago and I have to say the transition has been good. Although, I was so scared to live so far from my family, it has been easier than I expected. With so many ways to stay connected now, it helps me to feel closer than we actually are.

Since my children are not up to speed on emailing Grandma or texting their aunts, I think it is very important to help them feel connected to family and sadly…help them to remember. Children can not rationalize a move or understand why a “short” plane flight is a positive thing, but they can understand that family even from afar loves them and thinks of them very often. So, when Emma was missing her family recently, I wanted to give her something special to be comforted by.

I thought a photo box just for her, would be perfect. A place where she could keep special photos of her family. I had her pick out all the photos that she wanted to keep in the box, it was neat to see what she picked and why. We found this adorable paper mache house at Micheal’s and Emma painted it with water colors. I think any sort of box would work for this, but who could resist this little house. When it was dry she glued on little windows and added family looking out at us. We put all of her photos in the box. I told her whenever she was missing our family she could open her box and know that they are all very close in our hearts and that they think of her everyday. The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in a pile of photos, talking about happy memories and looking forward to seeing everyone very soon.

I could have just given Emma some photos to look at when she was feeling sad, but having her get involved in this project made it all the more special to her and also was a great way for her to express the way she was feeling through art. Any time spent doing a project with a child is a great opportunity to talk, laugh and enjoy each other. That’s what was special about this afternoon to me.

 

Speak your mind

Have you had to move away from family or a familiar territory? How did you help your child cope with the change and distance from familiar faces and places? Would you try making a photo box to give your child extra comfort? Feel free to post your comments below. And if you make a photo box, I’d love to see a picture on our Facebook wall!

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44 Responses to Coping with a move: Keeping kids connected

  1. Jadah March 21, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    I love this project! We moved from Kauai a year ago and my daughter misses her grandma, “Popo.” We also have family we only see once a year, and this would help ease those “shy” moments at family get togethers with so many faces. This would be the perfect conversation piece. I wonder if we could use milk cartons too.

    • Melissa Allen March 21, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      Jadah, I have to say, Emma has opened this box everyday since we made it. It has really helped. A milk carton is just what I had planned on using before we found the house, even a shoe box would work well.
      Glad you like it. 😉

  2. Jessica Moreno March 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    What a great idea. I can’t wait to make to make a photobox with Nicholas to remind him of the special people (near and far) he has in his life. Beautiful way to teach a child the love and importance of family. And to keep memories close to their heart.

  3. Popo Joy March 22, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Photos of loving family and friends help everyone to cope with not living close enough to those we love. From our little ones, to me, at 50, to my 88 year old mother. In the end, our memories is what we hold on to, and photos of those who play a part in them, is a happy, joyful bond.

  4. Marieke March 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    What a great idea Melissa! Even though we didn’t move, our family does live far away (as for a lot of people here in SoCal). “Opa & Oma” live in The Netherlands and Grandpa and “Mama-Ni” live in Texas.

    We may actually do this, as it will help Kai stay more connected to the people he hears about but doesn’t see enough.

    • Melissa Allen March 23, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      Marieke, Yes, I think it can help it many different situations. For Grayson, since he is too young to really remember everyone I like to show him the photos and show him who everyone is. Now he points all his family out to us. I think it will be great for when we have family come visit, he will know their faces and names.

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