Moving is hard for everyone, but children with OCD and autism tend to struggle the most. Your child likely thrives on a routine, and moving tends to mean having to readjust to an entirely new living situation. Although your child may exhibit more symptoms during the moving process, you can use these tips to help them quickly acclimate to their new house.
Encourage Them to Help Pack
Your child with autism may be confused or upset to discover that everything they care about has been packed up. Especially if you try to do it when they are not at home. A child with OCD may also be extremely worried about the status of their belongings during the move. To help with these issues, have your child help pack their personal items. While you may handle the majority of the packing, it can be reassuring for your child to help. You can ask your child to carefully wrap breakables and organize items that go together in the same boxes.
Include Them in the Planning Process
Children with autism and OCD do best when they know what to expect. Using age-appropriate language, talk to them about some of the decisions that you make when you are working with the new home builders. For instance, you can show your child the floor plan of your new house before you move in. This will help them know where their bedroom is located. If your new home is near your old one, you could take your children there as it is being built. This way they can see the process with their own eyes.
Make Their Bedroom an Oasis
Moving to a new house usually creates at least a few days of chaos before everyone settles in. During this time, your child can use their room as a place to retreat to when they feel stressed. Plan to set up your child’s room first. They’ll be able to regulate their behavior better, when they are surrounded by familiar furniture and toys.
Involve Them with Setting Up the Rest of the House
Your child also needs to feel comfortable in the rest of the house before they can successfully adjust, and they may have a sense of ownership over certain shared items such as their video game systems.
Give your child simple tasks that help them feel more in control over how things are set up. For instance, an older child might want to organize their video games in the living room. Or a younger child may want to designate a quiet space, where they can play with their toys.
Thinking about your child’s ability to adjust to a new environment is essential during your move. Although you may need to practice a bit more patience during stressful moments, you can keep them to a minimum by simply planning ways to prevent meltdowns. By talking to your child about your plans and getting them involved in each part of the move, you can help them learn to love their new home.