Moving can be hard for children to get a grasp on. Your kids understand that things are changing but they don’t understand how or why, and what awaits them. If you’re the parent, moving can stressful enough on its own; adding kids into the mix may make it seem like an impossible day to get a handle on. However, with the right methods you can get your kids moved without having to deal with any breakdowns. The secret is opening up the lines of communication with your child so that they can process how their life is changing.
Involve them in your pre-move prep
Don’t hide what is happening. Moving will have an impact on your child’s day to day life and children thrive on stability (don’t we all). Keeping them informed will only make the experience smoother for you both in the end. Let them pack some of their belongings into boxes. Have them help you fold their clothes or put their toys in containers. Kids love having a job and knowing that they are being included. This will help your child gain some understanding on what is occurring and it will help them stay calm.
Make sure they still have access to their favorite toys/belongings
Make your child a necessities box that you keep separate from the other belongings that you pack. Make sure that they have the essentials for the first night that they will spend in their new home including pajamas, their favorite blanket, and toys. This will ensure that even if you can’t get unpacked right away, they will have everything that they need to feel at home.
Let them say goodbye
You should give your children the opportunity to say goodbye to their home and to their community. It doesn’t have to be a sad occasion, you can choose to focus on the positive. If your family has a favorite local pizza or ice cream shop, take a trip there before your move. You could also host a small going away party. If your kids have a close bond to neighbors plan out a play date and let them know that just because they’re moving they don’t have to say goodbye to their friends forever.
Take them somewhere else when the move is actually occurring
Move day is going to be a bit hectic. You will have a lot on your mind and most likely will not be able to devote undivided attention to your kids, keep them entertained, and keep them from getting in the way as your belongings are being loaded and unloaded. Take your kids to a family member or friends home for the day. If you are still concerned about how your child will process the change, have whoever is watching them bring them by the home for a short bit so that they can see what is happening.
Make moving into your new home fun
Once you get your belongings into the home and settle down try to make the next few days an adventure. Tell your child all the exciting things about moving to a new place. They will have the opportunity to explore a new place, make new friends, and experience a new way of life.
You can also provide them with a sense of control by allowing them to help make decisions about your new home like what color you paint the walls in their new room, how you will set up the backyard, and decisions regarding activities and clubs that they will join in their new community.
Moving with kids can be a tricky situation to navigate. We’re not saying that it won’t be hard. Children may feel grief and anxiety during the process of moving, which is warranted. Their life is about to change and they usually don’t have any control over the situation. But making sure that your child is aware of what is happening and how their life will be affected by moving is a large part of helping them prepare for the transition with greater ease.