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Beginning of summer not best time to move kids

Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / May 20, 1998

Many parents are under the impression that the best time to move is at the beginning of the summer so their children’s education won’t be interrupted.

But experts say this myth is not the best thing to do for the child in the long run.

Dr. Catherine Cupp, a pediatrician at River Parishes Hospital, said the besttime for a move involving children is about two weeks before school starts.

“Actually it is harder to move during the summer because kids are isolated,” Cupp said. “All the kids in the new neighborhood are alreadyinvolved in camps and other activities.”Judy Songy of Century 21 said she believes the best time to move is right before school is out.

“It will give children a chance to adjust to a new school and make friends before the school year starts so they can have friends to play with over the summer,” she said. “Then when school starts they won’t be as anxiousabout beginning a new school and knowing no one there.”One positive thing parents can do while making plans for the big move is communicate with their children.

“For the younger kids the parents need to discuss the move and let them know things about the new area and talk about it in a really positive way and encourage them,” Cupp said.

Parents also need to remind their children to tell everyone goodbye before the move.

“They need to make sure that the kids say goodbye to their teachers and friends to make sure they have that closure,” Cupp said.

So as to not bring anymore upheaval in a child’s life, Cupp recommends that parents unpack immediately.

“Set up the child’s room right away and try not to have too many changes all at once,” she said. “Keep the same furniture.”Because adjustments are sometimes difficult to make for young children, parents should make sure they understand that they have to do everything they did while they were living at their previous home.

“Right from the very beginning the kids need to be told they have to go to school,” Cupp said. “Every day parents should reassure them.”Cupp said if children act differently after the move, parents should encourage them to get involved, but they should keep in mind that there could be some depression.

“Some of the older kids may become a little bit more depressed,” Cupp said. “If their child is more withdrawn or shyer than usual they need tomake that extra effort to talk to them and encourage them. If there is apool in the neighborhood, they should try to get their kids there to meet other kids.”

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