Ellie is Moving is a helpful book to explore transitions and big moves that all children may experience in relation to changes that occur in their lives.
Transitions can be extremely painful and scary; Whether it be moving home, country, or to a new school -or even going back to school after a holiday, as everything may feel unknown.
The unknown can bring all sorts of fears and questions. Children approach transitions and the unknown in all sorts of ways. Some may be avoidant, and some may be resistant or have other feelings altogether.
Notice where your child is at and allow them to be there whilst also helping them to develop a language for what they may be feeling.
What did Ellie feel in the story? Storytelling is a wonderful and safe way of exploring and naming different emotions.
By using and discussing other characters can often feel safer to the child rather than being immediately direct with them.
Naming feelings that Ellie and the characters had in the book can bring huge relief to a child that may also be feeling this way.
Later, you could make a drawing together of the different feelings.
What is it like to have mixed emotions and not just one?
This is a wonderful book that you can always go back to and refer to in times of transition.
Spend some time thinking and chatting together about when your child needed to make a big transition, or you did.
What did it feel like?
A way to help children with transitions be clear of the various stages of a move.
Break the move into small pieces such as packing up some toys, where will they be packed, and how will they then be transported. If it is a new school, you could try out the journey first together and discuss who will greet you at the other end.
You may also want to make a memory box or drawing of the things that your child will miss so that they can come back to this. Be open, curious, and empathic to any questions your child may have.
Ruth Israel is an integrative child and adolescent psychotherapist and clinical supervisor. She has worked for many years in schools, charities and has taught child psychotherapists. She has used stories like these to help children to process trauma and develop a language for feelings. Ruth works in the UK and in Israel.