Moving can be difficult for children. However with some forethought and preparation, you can put their minds at ease and get your kids excited about moving to a new city or neighborhood.
Discuss the move openly
The decision to move is a big one. If you have decided to move, whether across town or across the country, explain to your children why you are moving. Whether it’s because of a job transfer or just because you’re moving into a bigger house/better neighborhood, your kids deserve an explanation. If you explain how the move will improve your family life, it will take the focus off the negative or frightening aspects for your children. Allow them to make a list of their concerns or questions and answer them as thoroughly and honestly as you can.
Involve kids in the moving process
If you are house-hunting, allow your kids to look at possible homes on the Internet or learn about new schools. When you make your child an active participant in the move, he/she will be less likely to be resistant or worried. Once you have found a home, allow your child to find out about the neighborhood. Where will they go to the park or movies? What stores, restaurants and attractions are nearby?
Avoid moving during crucial times
Don’t move if your toddler is in the middle of toilet training or has just moved into a big-boy bed from the crib. Too many changes can be overwhelming for young children. For school-age children, it may be better to hold off your move until the summertime to avoid disruption during the school year.
Get your children excited about the move
When you move, allow your children to decorate their new bedrooms. Before you move, they can pick out a paint color, draw up a floor plan to arrange the furniture, and shop for new bedding and rugs. Provide your kids with a moving kit containing information about your new city or neighborhood, pictures of your new house and other items to put them at ease about the move. Give them an address book to collect addresses and phone numbers of friends who they want to keep in touch with.
Make packing fun
When packing up your child’s toys and clothes, make sure they understand that you aren’t throwing the items away. Make packing fun. Give them colorful labels and markers in order to label their boxes. Young children can stay with a babysitter on moving day, while older kids and teens can help pack the moving truck.
Keep routines and rules
Just because you’re moving doesn’t mean everything else needs to change about your family. When you move, keep your household routine and rules the same. Children thrive with consistent routines. Mealtimes, bedtimes and other routines should stay the same.
Set up playdates
Once you move, set up playdates or get your children involved in extracurricular activities to help them meet new friends. Visit local restaurants, parks and attractions to help your kids get acclimated to your new community as soon as possible.