Moving with children certainly isn’t going to be less stressful than moving solo – quite the contrary! If packing up all your treasured belongings, loading them up and moving to a whole new place is challenging for you, just think about how it all looks through little eyes. So much change, but no worries! Kids are resilient and we’ve got a little advice to make moving with children a little easier.
The Basics of Moving with Children
As you prepare for your move, let the kids see their new home, (whether in pictures or in person), so that they know what to expect of their new surroundings on moving day. Having them tell you what they think they may like and dislike about their new home may ease some anxiety and help getthem excited. Include your children in decisions about where things should go to make them feel included.
During your move, let the children help you pack, particularly their own belongings. Assign all of your kids a “job” so they feel included even it’s as simple as labeling and color coding boxes or packing their own toys.This is a great time for a round of the game “out with the old and in with the new.” Encouraging your children to sort through their things and make a donation pile will be both rewarding and exciting.
Once you have moved, take some time to enjoy your new home and let the kids settle in. Don’t rush to get everything unpacked at once. Introduce the kids to the neighborhood and show them their new school and nearby playground. Then, unpack some of their most cherished belongings so that they feel more at home, and allow them to have input in setting up their own bedrooms to help claim their space.
As you’re settling into your new home after moving with children, try to keep your family routine as normal as possible. If you’re moving mid-school year, get your kids enrolled and going to classes as soon as possible. Maintain normal bedtimes and meal times and don’t forget to let your kids play at normal play times!
Perhaps most importantly, help your kids make new friends! Seek activities for school-aged children, such as sports, clubs, lessons and classes. Host play dates for younger kids to get to know each other. Take initiative in meeting new neighbors and their kids!
Moving with Young Children
For the most part, the younger the child, the easier it is for them to adjust to the change of a move. With young children, their family is the center of their lives and wherever their family is, they are comfortable and have all they need. When children do experience anxiety during a move, answering questions and reassuring them that all of the important things will stay the same will help to put them at ease. How to deal with emotions that children may experience:
- Excitement – Give them age-appropriate moving tasks to keep them excited and positive.
- Curiosity – Share children’s books on moving and tell them about their new neighborhood to give them an idea of what to expect.
- Sadness – Help them say goodbye to the old house, (take some photos, draw pictures), and then reassure them that they will stay in touch with important people.
- Anger – Monitor their expectations to help keep them in line with reality and redirect their attention to positive asepcts of moving, like decorating their new room.
Moving with ‘Tweens and Teens
Some young teens and teens will be thrilled for the adventure of moving, and the new home and opportunity to make new friends will be exciting for them. However, a move CAN be hardest on young adolescents and teenage children. At this age, their friends are vitally important to their lives and development. A move for them means giving up friendships and having to make new ones while many teenagers are often insecure about fitting in with new people. They worry about what other kids at their new school will be like. They may even have to give sports and other activities and earn their place all over again. Be aware of these concerns. How to deal with the possible emotions of ‘tweens and teens:
- Excitement – Give them responsible tasks while moving and show your appreciation for their enthusiasm and assistance.
- Anxiety – Research and share info about their new school, students, and activities nad make note of important dates for signups and tryouts.
- Sadness – Be very understanding and patient. Find ways to help them stay in touch with friends when they move.
- Anger – Acknowledge their feelings and work to keep lines of communication open while giving them space and time. Host a going away party to give them a chance to see and say goodbye to friends.