Pulling up stakes and moving is stressful. Add kids to the mix, and your stress levels may be off the charts. Look at it from a child’s point of view. You’re asking them to leave their home, their schools and their friends. Pave the way for an easy transition by following these four tips.
Preparation is key. Be honest about the move. Let them know where the family will be moving and when the move will take place. During this time, it helps to keep as much familiarity and predictability as possible. Routines and regular schedules provide comfort. In addition, involving the kids in the process can help them feel they have some control over their situation. Ask them questions about their feelings and opinions. Some children might like reading stories about moving. Moving House by Anne Civardi (Preschool) and Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst (K-3rd grade) are two great books to check out of the library.
Go exploring. Another way to alleviate anxiety is to help your children get familiar with their new home. If possible, visit the new neighborhood. Find parks, playgrounds, or other features that they might enjoy. Tour the new house and the school they’ll be attending. Some schools provide opportunities to meet teachers or the principal in advance. If you can’t arrange a visit before moving day, the internet is a great tool. Find pictures and maps of the area online. You may also be able to take virtual tours of your new home. Many kids also enjoy planning how they will decorate their new rooms.
Avoid packing pitfalls. Many kids are concerned that their belongings may be lost or thrown away during the move. Though packing might seem like a good time to get rid of unneeded items, it isn’t a good time to do this with your kids’ things. Reassure them and allow them to help with packing, if appropriate. Small children might enjoy decorating their boxes. Keep important items such as favorite blankets, toys and books unpacked. Reassure them that their new bedrooms will contain the same furniture and familiar items that their old bedrooms contained. Ask the movers to load the kids’ boxes last so they will be the first off the truck when you reach your new home.
Say goodbye. Children often worry about staying in touch with friends or loved ones they are leaving behind. Discuss ways for them to maintain contact with their old friends. Give them ample time to spend with important people they will miss. A goodbye party can be a good way to help children say their final goodbyes.