It’s no secret, moving can be one of the most stressful times in life. For children, it can be especially difficult. The experts say the best thing you can do is to empower your children; get them involved as much as possible in some of the decisions that come with moving.
If you have older children, and it is an option, let them help decide when the move will take place. Many parents will try and let their kids finish out the school year or, if possible, stay with trusted friends to complete their school semester or year before joining the already-moved family. To help pre-teens or tweens, you could: let them choose how and when to tell their friends and their teachers about the move; and/or let them design and decorate their new bedroom to be.
With little children, your best bet is to try and keep to their routines. You’ll be busy, so find extra time to spend with them and explain what all the hustle and bustle is about. They’ll need to be assured that they will be getting back their belongings after they’ve been boxed up and transported. Remember to keep out some of their special toys to take with them on the trip to your new house. With small children, maintaining familiarity will be your key to a lower-stress move.
For kids of all ages, include them in learning about your new neighborhood by sharing information and details about their new home and community. You can contact the Chamber of Commerce in your new town for info on parks, library programs, local events and attractions that you can then offer to your kids. Many Chambers have information packets they can send to you in advance of your move to help you get everyone excited about fun times that lie ahead.
One final tip that could help your kids adjust to the reality of the move is to preserve the memories of your former home by taking some mementos with you. Collect pictures, a particular paver from the front walkway, or some other small treasure from your former house as a means of decorating your new home with a “piece” of the old. In the same vein, you want to have a make a final pilgrimage, as a family, to your favorite local activities, restaurants, etc., before the move – and take lots of pictures or select a physical memento (a copy of a menu, admission ticket stub, etc. – to preserve those great memories too. Eventually, your kids are sure to adjust to your new home, it just may take some time. In the interim, do what you can to make the transition smoother by acknowledging their feelings and making them a part of the move in an age-appropriate way.