suitcases lined up with the caption "How to Help Children Adapt to a New Environment"

*Guest Post from Author Anna Levine*

Moving on!Packing up and moving to a new home, a new country and an unfamiliar environment is
unsettling. We can learn a lot from how animals adapt to changes. In my picture book, All Eyes
on Alexandra, the flock prepares for their journey. “They clean their coats and dye their hair from
red to brown to blend better with the winter foliage.” The birds prepare by adapting to the
seasons and the long flight ahead.

cover of the book All Eyes on Alexandra

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How can we help our children adapt to the changes they’ll face moving to a new home?

  1. Look. Take a look at the geography of the new environment you’re moving to. Find an exciting
    place they can visit once you’ve arrived and are settled in. Make a list of the ten best sites
    you think would be fun to visit.
  2. Prepare. Prepare your child for the change of climate by buying a new item of clothing. Bring it
    along for them to wear once they arrive, while making sure to keep some of their
  3. Closure is important. It’s hard to say goodbye to the familiar. Before Alexandra takes off
    with her flock for the flight to Africa, she takes a short flight with her grandfather. Take
    time to visit all your child’s familiar and favorite places and the people they’ve grown
    attached to. Pick up a rock from their favorite park, a bookmark from a favorite
    bookstore, and keepsake from a friend or family member. Create a treasure box of
    mementos that they can keep and bring along with them.
  4. Find the local stuff. If you know in advance, make a map of your new neighborhood. Where’s the closest
    store, the school, the park? Over five hundred million birds fly from Europe to Africa
    every year. Maybe try and find the birds that are indigenous to where you live now and
    where they fly to during the winter months. Find out which birds travel to the country
    you are moving to. Nature is always on the move. What other animals can you find in the
    country or place you’re moving to?
  5. Speak up! When the Cranes arrive in the Hula Valley they’re greeted by an exchange of
    honks, bellows, and whoops of joy. Birds are so noisy! Take a moment to let your child
    speak up and express how they feel about moving to a new place. Expressing their fears
    and apprehension will let you know what’s really on their minds, rather than assuming
    what they might be feeling. You can ask your child what they think Alexandra and all the
    other flocks are honking about.
  6. Talk. Letting a child know that moving and changing is a part of life might make them
    understand that though we move to new places, we don’t have to leave behind all of our                                comfortable routines. Family members who travel with us, bedtime rituals of reading books                              and favorite breakfast routines will keep some of the familiar even in a new and unfamiliar place
  7. Languages. Learn a new language. Alexandra’s parents are ‘Abba’ and “Ima.” Her grandparents are
    “Saba” and “Savta.” What does your child call you? Do your child’s grandparents go by
    special names? Learn to say “Hello” in different languages. Show your child that while
    they share many similarities with children around the world.  

I hope these tips will help your children adjust to a new environment. Have you tried any of these suggestions before? What has worked for your children? Please share in the comments.

© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2018.

headshot of the author Anna Levine

Anna Levine is an award-winning children’s book author. Like Alexandra Crane, the character in her latest picture book, she loves to explore new worlds. Born in Canada, Anna has lived in the US and Europe.  She now lives in Israel, where she writes and teaches.

Connect with Anna at:

Author website: