The scene is set for Super Bowl XLVII and two head coaches, with their staff, are preparing for the biggest game of their season. In a very different scenario, five NFL head coaches and their families (not to mention numerous staff and front office personnel) are preparing their families to relocate as a result of “Black Monday” – the day after the end of the NFL regular season when the fate of many head coaches is decided. In addition to those five head coaches let go, there are the five MORE head coaches (and their staff) who have been hired to replace them also preparing their families to relocate.
This scenario plays out several times each year in all sports, both professional and collegiate. In the NCAA alone, 28 coaches and assistant coaches were let go at the end of the 2013 season. Probably the most talked about coaching change was at the University of Texas. Charlie Strong, new head football coach for the UT Longhorns, has changed various coaching positions 11 times…pretty typical in college football. He has a family – a wife and two daughters - who have made those 11 moves with him. Eleven times packing and unpacking; 11 times finding new schools; 11 times finding new grocery stores, post offices, and gas stations - all those things we take for granted. The Strong family has had to find a “new normal” 11 times.
Last week, Coach Strong announced the completion of his new coaching staff, a total of nine new assistant coaches. As those nine new assistant coaches and their families enter, nine former assistant coaches and their families will move on. This is just a small microcosm of what happens every year as over eight million children between the ages of one and 14 are relocated by their families annually. When you consider that it typically takes anywhere from a few months up to a year-and-a-half to adjust to a new move, this is a great deal of change and transition for families, especially children.
Some strategies parents can use to help children transition to a new home are:
· Be understanding and patient – change takes times and there are lots of emotions, both positive and negative, that will come up at various times
· Provide some sort of familiarity by making routines consistent
· Promote new friendships – get connected to the community quickly
· Use literature and movies to help children understand their feelings and develop coping strategies
Finally, no family should move without a game plan.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.