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Parent and Carer Information 

A New Home for Rabbit - A story about moving house 

Firstly, thank you for purchasing A new home for Rabbit, and welcome to our information area. This page offers a separate space away from the fun of the book, with the focus here on support for you. We have top tips around moving house with children, guidance through the playful activities, and steps for helping your child with their feelings as they get used to the changes ahead. We hope that you find this space a useful and supportive addition to the book. 

So, what might come up when you're moving house?

Many children will experience a house move in their first 10 years. It can be an exciting time, but can also be challenging. Whether you are just moving down the street or relocating to a new country, moving house is a big transition, and dealing with a degree of the unknown is an unavoidable part of this.

Due to individual personalities and temperaments, some children may feel worried and unsettled by a move, whilst others appear to adapt quickly to the change. Individual family circumstances can also affect the child's experience. The move may involve a separation from family members, or a new school. A child may be excited about a bigger garden, or hold feelings of disappointment at being further away from Grandma, for example. In some cases the child might feel relief at moving home and area. This is why there is no fixed experience or set of emotions about moving house. It can be as individual a process as the child themselves!

In writing this interactive story, my aim was to provide a space for the child's feelings and fears to be heard and understood through the story of Rabbit. Moving house almost always will include the feeling of loss, as the child leaves one place behind, and moves on to the relatively unknown. With the help of her friends and a wise older character, Rabbit finds that moving physically away from the places and people she loves, doesn't mean that she can't be with them in her heart. 

So, let's look at some steps that we can take to help our children in the moving house process

Put in the ground work

If you have time, there are a lot of things you can do before letting your child know that you are planning a move.

Step number one should be to make sure they know what moving house actually means! It sounds simple, but little minds can make up all kinds of weird and wonderful ideas. Making new 'homes' for the insects in your garden, noticing removal vans in the street, or watching a 'moving house' episode of a favourite kids TV programme are all great introductions to the concept. Perhaps you could look at photo's of a house you have moved from and your own experiences of moving.

Start the de-cluttering in advance

It can feel like a huge task, going through all the things you own and deciding what to take with you and what is no longer useful. This process can be difficult for a child, and they can come to connect moving house with a sense of loss. This is why I would advise to start any de-cluttering well ahead of time if you can. 

Accept all the feelings

Moving house can bring us mixed emotions. On one hand, we may be super excited about all the good things ahead but on the other, we might be sad at leaving our friends behind. Let your child know that it is okay to have two feelings at once, and that it is okay to feel sad. When a child feels heard and validated, they are able to move past the difficult feeling faster.

Create a countdown

There is a sense of safety in knowing what is around the corner. Create a countdown with your child so that they can tick off the days until the big day. How creative could you get with it? 

 

Communicate safety

As the safe people in the childs life, you know that this is the right thing to do and that moving house will be okay. It is important to communicate this to your child. They are safe, and you've got this!

Allow choices

Give your child the opportunity to design their own bedroom so that they have a sense of ownership and excitement about the move. Try giving two choices that you are happy with- Would you like this one, or this one?

Make a memory book

Take photos of the old house that your child can look at when they want to. Perhaps your child can get involved in making a scrap book or memory box. 

Emotions at Play has connection at it's very core, and reading a story together is a wonderful way of connecting with a child. You will have seen us talk about ‘the magic recipe’ here at Emotions at Play, and I would like to invite you to think about the relationship between yourself and your child as the container for this recipe. As you explore the book together, you will find plenty of ingredients to add to your pot, but the key part of the magic is you.

Let 'Rags' be your guide- Our trusty mascot is on hand to guide you through the story. Rags will lead you to fun games, experiments and crafty ideas to bring the story from the page and into your child’s world.

'I wonder' statements - Often used in therapeutic conversation in place of 'why'questions,

'I wonder'statements are much softer and don't force a response. Our young people do not always have the answer to 'why', but 'I wonder if..' brings about a shared curiosity and a feeling of being on the journey together. It's only a slight change of words yet it can make a real difference. 

The child always leads - A really important piece in Emotions at Play is that the child leads and the adult follows. Play is a child's natural mode of expression, so if we lead, we simply take over the conversation and suppress our child. Our books are filled with activities and ideas to ignite your child's curiosity. They are offered, but never forced. 

Pick the right time - Make sure that your are emotionally regulated within yourself before starting the story. If you are feeling stressed or are trying to sandwich it in between activities, you won't be able to fully focus on your child. Take time to breathe and settle so that you are in an emotional state that will support your child. Put your mobile phone on silent to allow this special time to be just between you. 

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