If you’re preparing for a move, you’ve likely got a ton on your mind… selling your home, packing your belongings, saying goodbyes and getting ready to start all over somewhere new. Now, throw kids into the mix.
No, we’re not talking about all of the additional packing you may have to do for your kids. If you’re feeling anxious about everything that’s going on with an upcoming move, imagine what that might be like for a child, who may be far less equipped to deal with the changes.
Luckily, you and your children are neither the first, nor will you be the last families to move somewhere ne, so there are lots of resources available to help even the youngest family members to be prepared and even excited about an upcoming move.
If you and your family are anticipating a move this spring, here are some suggestions for making the moving process as easy as possible for your children:
Keep Kids in the Know
Once you are certain that your family will be moving somewhere new, it is time to loop your children in on the news. If you’re going to be selling your home, explain to them why strangers may be walking through at various times to see your home. Tell your kids about the area where you will be moving. If their schools will change, do your research, so your kids know that they’ll still be able to do the things they enjoy and participate in activities they’re familiar with.
If Johnny knows he’ll still be able to play baseball, he may feel more comfortable about making new friends around his new home. And, don’t forget to tell your children about all of the belongings that will be coming with you. Let them know that not everything is changing – just your location!
Expect Some Pushback
Be honest with yourself on this one. You likely felt at least a tinge of sadness about leaving your current home – maybe you feel a whole lot more emotional than that about it. So, don’t be surprised if your children are less than thrilled with the news that they’ll be uprooted. Younger kids may take the news a little more easily, but children in their teens may be downright sad or even angry. Help children deal with their feelings by being honest about your own. This is another reason that telling children about a move sooner – rather than later – is a good thing. It gives them time to cope with the news in their own way.
Maintain Normal Routines, When Possible
Whether your child is a toddler or a teen, they probably like a routine. It’s familiar and something they can rely on. So, if at all possible, keep your routines throughout the moving process. From the way you do things at bedtime to the nights you enjoy tacos, breakfast for dinner or pizza on the patio, keeping these little things consistent from an old home to a new one will make the moving process less foreign to a child – and, quite frankly, to you, too.
You may not be able to let your children select your new home, but you can do things like let them pick out their own bedroom or decide how they would like to arrange their furniture and other belongings in the new space. When it comes to packing, let your children have a voice in what items they want to keep, sell or give to charity. If your children are small, have them help by decorating their own personal box, where they can keep toys, blankets or clothes that they’re particularly attached to.
Get to Know Your New Area and Neighbors
This may not be as easy for cross-country moves, but if your family is moving to a new neighborhood that is relatively local, try to spend some time getting to know your new community during the moving process. Show your kids around your new home. Find the local kid favorites… the playground, the mall or a local ice cream shop. If you see neighbors while you’re out exploring, try to make friends before you move. Sign your children up for sports or other activities before you move, so that they already have some friends when they get there.
We’ve all been there… you know, that time when your child (again, any age here… toddler to teen) has repeated a choice word or phrase that you both know they shouldn’t have… yet, you can’t be all that mad because you know it has come directly out of your own mouth as well. Let’s face it; kids are little sponges! If you act positively about your new move, they’re bound to absorb and emit those same feelings. So, despite your feelings on your upcoming move, keep a positive demeanor and your kids are likely to follow suit!