Let’s be honest: moving is stressful, and adding kids to the mix can make it even more so. But preparing kids to move doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Check out these tips to make your move as painless as possible.
How Does Moving Affect Kids?
Moving is hard on kids for a variety of reasons. First, it disrupts their routine. Kids thrive on a routine, and changes to it can be a source of anxiety for some children.
Then, there’s the sadness of leaving friends behind. If your children have never moved before, they’ll probably be even more worried about leaving their friends. They might not be able to imagine making new friends, and the fear of loneliness can be upsetting.
There are plenty of other fears your children might have about the upcoming move. They may have trouble sleeping, act out in school, or just give you the silent treatment. You can, however, avoid letting the situation escalate into something more serious by preparing kids to move.
Preparing Kids to Move
1. Involve them
The best way you can make your children more comfortable with the idea of moving is to involve them in the process. Let them have a say in some of the decisions. Bring them along while you look at houses and ask for their input. Listen to them, even if you don’t follow through with all of their ideas. This will make them feel like they have some control over the situation. Instead of feeling like you’re subjecting them to a terrible change, they may be more open to the idea.
2. Answer questions
Be willing to answer all the questions your children have. But don’t wait for them to come to you. Open the door to discussion. Ask them if they have any questions or concerns and deal with them honestly. You may be able to put some of their fears to rest and ease their anxiety about the new home.
3. Explore your new neighborhood
Whether you’re moving across the town or across the country, explore your new neighborhood with your kids. If it’s nearby, drive over and explore on foot. If that’s not possible, search the web for information. Google Earth is a great way to give your family a feel for the new neighborhood. Check out some fun local activities and make a list of places to visit. You may even get your kids excited about the move!
4. Don’t downplay the situation
While you might think that crying about never seeing the neighborhood dog again is an overreaction, don’t tell your kids that. Let your kids be upset about the situation and don’t belittle their feelings. Be supportive and gently show them the bright side of the move.
5. Make a chart
You can create a chart that will help your kids understand the moving process. Add dates to show when each step will happen. You can include things like days you’ll house hunt, days you’ll pack, and days you’ll explore the new neighborhood. It might be easier for your kids to handle moving if they have a visual of the whole experience.