People move for many reasons, jobs, to be closer to family, when families start outgrowing houses, and for thousands of other reasons. When it is time for your family to move, you may be feeling stressed and excited, but of course there is always sadness of leaving behind your old house and memories, friends, coworkers, and many things that you are familiar with. Moving is also stressful for kids, even if they are not in school yet. When you decide to move, of course you think of your children and what is best for them, but from their standpoint, they have no control over the situation. That is scary for everyone.
Breaking the News
When you have made the decision to move and the move is impending, it is time to tell your kids. Try not to tell little kids too far in advance of the move, it gives too much time to be nervous or think about what will change. Instead, about a month before your move have a fun night at home and tell them about the move. Your attitude really sets the mood, so make sure to be excited and have a positive attitude. Give them space to express their feelings and what concerns they have.
Talk about things that won’t be changing, how they will still have their bed, toys, and how you will still be able to carry on family traditions like movie night. Talk about the first time you moved and how you made new friends and still visited your old friends. There will be some sad or even angry feelings, allow your kids time to process them. Experts say it can take up to six months for kids to adjust after a move.
Before You Go
Moving is really tough, who knew you had so much stuff?! Before you move, take the opportunity to eradicate some of the clutter. Thin the herd of less loved stuffed animals and donate them. Let them help you go through every room and choose the less sentimental items that you no longer use and donate them or hold a moving sale.
Research the new neighborhood or city and try to visit it if you can. If it’s too far, show pictures of the new place. Show your kids the school they will be attending, local playgrounds, pizza parlors, and places that are fun and exciting. This will help make the new neighborhood be more real in their minds, and keep nervous imaginings in check. You don’t have to feign excitement constantly, be honest that some parts of moving are tough, but it can be fun too.
One of the most important things for children before a move is to allow them to say goodbye. Throw a goodbye party, write letters together, make gifts, and spend time together. Also, make sure that there are ways to keep in touch with the most important people in your child’s life.
When you move
If you are moving away from close friends or family, plan the first visit before you leave. That way your kids don’t feel like they are leaving behind their loved ones forever. If your kids are old enough, let them pick out a paint color for the walls and have input in arranging furniture in their rooms. Before school starts, do a tour of the school with your child. Try to arrange some time so your child can meet his new teacher before the first day of school. Again, your attitude can lead the way. Making new friends is hard, so try to make it easier by signing your kids up for activities that they like, and meeting the parents at school. Scope out the neighborhood for kids that are the same age as your kids and introduce yourself to the parents. This will help you make friends too!
Making Moving Easier on your Kids
Moving is never easy, make it easier on your kids by practicing patience, understanding, and giving them lots of time to adjust and make new friends.