Children Mental Health 1It’s often a difficult decision to pick up and move one’s family to another location. Though, sometimes circumstances don’t leave much of a choice. It’s not uncommon for parents to be concerned about uprooting their school-aged children, especially when they have already formed strong friendships and emotional bonds with students at their current school. But what about children under 5 who haven’t officially started attending classes yet?

Research shows that children of lower income families seem to be most affected by the process of moving. A study conducted by investigators at Cornell University in partnership with the National Employment Law Project uncovered that although moving is something that many of us experience at some point over the course of our lifetimes, children living in poverty are forced to relocate three times or more before their fifth birthday. Many experience more problems with depression, anxiety, and paying attention.

As part of the investigation covered in a recent Psych Central report, researchers examined data for over 2,800 children taken from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. They were particularly concerned with the impact of persistent relocations on children’s preparedness for coursework in a classroom setting.

Data indicates that families in the lower income bracket tend to move more frequently than others, and that the housing crisis and tumbling job market have driven low-income families to seek out work and affordable housing wherever they can find it. Study results also showed that increased behavioral issues only seemed to occur amongst children of low-income families.

Moving can be stressful. If you or someone you know has been forced to relocate several times with young children, assistance for problems like anxiety, depression or related mental health conditions can be found at the Family Guidance Center. Mental health professionals are available to all, regardless of income, and can help provide families and children with mental health support they need adjusting to a new environment. For more information on relocation assistance, contact the Family Guidance Center.