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Will support from me and my husband be enough to ease our son’s transition to a new home?
Q: My husband and I relocated to Jakarta, Indonesia, with our 3-year-old boy. Until our move, our son had a lot of family members nearby who doted on him daily, and he grew very attached to my mother. He misses our family terribly and often asks to go home. This saddens me and I am worried that he feels alone, though I am here for him as a stay-at-home mother. I feel that my presence is insufficient, and that my son has no other source of comfort except from my husband and me.
A: We adults seldom think about the impact of a major move on our children, but it is very disruptive and disturbing to them. They miss the familiar sights and sounds of their former physical environment as well as the people who were important to them in their earlier home. But your son will adapt to the new area. He will meet new people, have new experiences, and make new friends, and the emotional power of the old situation will fade. But, during the transition, he will need extra love and attention from you and his father.

Use letters and photos to help during this transition. Show pictures of your old house or apartment and comment, “Remember where your room was there? And do you remember where you kept your toys?” “Here is Grandma’s house. We have to take some pictures of you here so she can see what your new house looks like.” “I’m going to write a letter to Grandma tonight, and I know she would love for you to draw a picture that I can enclose.”

As long as you are loving and supportive, your son should adjust to the new location within a few months.