We have recently relocated our family to a new state, and my 4.5-year-old son is not handling the change well. I have tried to play on his interests and get him involved in our new city, but he is not wanting to do anything. He is having trouble at home with his two-year-old brother because he is bored, but he won't venture out. How do I ease his fears and make him more comfortable in the new city?
Temperament has a lot to do with how children handle strss and adjust to new situations, but there are a few ways you might make this transition easier for him.
1. What are the fears that you mention? Do they center around what he has left behind or what he has come to? Either way, you can help him with quiet time together to talk them through and to help him to see them more realistically. (It might be easiest to tackle them one by one.)
2. The best gift for a child is a parent's undivided attention, but with a toddler at home this is hard. Can you arrange 'special' time with him at least a few times a week to explore together? Even if this starts out no further than your backyard, it is time alone with him to see something new.
3. Most 4-year-old children are very interested in the company of other children their age. Can you find a way to have him meet some new potential friends so he can 'connect' through new relationships?
4.You might consider attending a class at the YMCA or a project or story hour at the local library with your toddler, and allow your older son to get the experience through you, and to join along when he is ready.
If, after several weeks, you don't see any progress or easing of the fears you mention, you should bring these issues up with a pediatrician in your area.