Ask AF: Will Multiple Family Moves Disrupt Attachment?

One family asks if several moves in the two years since bringing their daughter home could disrupt her attachment. Our expert answers.

Q: Our daughter came home two years ago, at 11 months old. In that time, we moved in with my parents while we built a new house, then moved into that house, and, now, it looks like we will have to move again for a new job. She’s generally adjusted well, but I’m concerned that so many moves in so short a time could impair attachment.

A: You are right that it is not ideal to make multiple moves; however, it makes it easier for her that you are consistent regardless of the location. As much as we would like to be perfect parents, life often gets in the way. It sounds like she may be a pretty resilient kid. Hopefully she can manage another change well if you can keep as many things as possible consistent for her.

I am sure it was not your daughter’s first visit to your parents’ house when your family moved in. In the same way, I would guess that she probably drove by, toured inside, and heard many conversations about the new house, giving her lots of time to adjust to it before you moved in. If you do need to move again, make sure that she can familiarize herself with the new house as much as possible beforehand. If you cannot visit before you actually move in, make sure to arrive in the morning and spend some time there (not moving or unpacking stuff—just being) then leave for a few hours, returning prior to dinner time. Helping to familiarize your daughter with the your home will make the change less of a stressor for her.

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