Whether the prospect of a move is really exciting to you or simply a hassle, it’s important to understand that even a short, small move can be incredibly stressful for kids. Still, families with kids execute smooth and successful moves every single day. Here are a few tips to get you rolling.
Have a Heart-to-Heart About the Move
You should sit down and have a talk with your kids about the move before you pack the first box. This advice holds true whether you’re dealing with toddlers or tweens. You want to give the child the opportunity to ask his questions while telling him honestly what to expect.
Of course, this initial conversation does not guarantee that you won’t have other questions, concerns, or fears to answer as moving day grows closer. Make sure you take even “silly” concerns seriously. Change is scary, especially for kids.
Use the Web to Your Advantage
Help to eliminate uncertainty by finding the web page of your child’s new school online. Show him photos of the teachers, the playground, and anything else that you can locate. Look up what kinds of clubs or extracurricular activities will be available. Though you can’t put all of your child’s fears to rest (it’s simply impossible to know whether your child will make any new friends until he or she gets to school) you can at least help to reduce the fear of the unknown.
Let Them Pack Their Room
Their room is their space, so you should let them pack as much as possible. Even a toddler can bring you toys to place inside of the box. Let him see how you are packing and what you are doing. This will eliminate anxiety.
Older children may even be trusted to handle the entire process themselves. Allowing them to do so certainly takes some of the burden off of you, allowing you to focus on the rest of the house.
Pack a Go Bag
Kids have their favorite toys and prized possessions that they may not be able to live without even for a moment. So pack a go bag. Give them a backpack and tell them to fill it with their favorite bear, the book they read every night, or anything else they just don’t trust to a box or the moving crew. If you’re going on a long car trip this bag should include some entertainments that will make the drive much easier.
Build Excitement However You Can
Take the time to look up some of the child-friendly attractions that will be close to your new home. Try to tie into the child’s interests. A kid who loves baseball will love hearing all about how he’ll finally be able to catch a game in Fenway Park, for example.
Be sure to follow through with a few visits to these locations shortly after you arrive…you don’t want your children to feel cheated!
Talk about your new house too, and show the children pictures. You might even take them to the property so they can see their room. Highlight ways in which your new home is an improvement over the old one: does it have more space? A yard? Additional bathrooms? This will help kids understand the reasons for the change. They might even start getting excited about living in this cool, new home!
First, be patient with your kids. They might act out, burst into tears or have more tantrums than usual during the process. This is their way of coping with a change they didn’t ask for and that they didn’t have a say in. These outbursts won’t be easy to deal with when you’ve got all of the other details of a move on your plate, but they do serve a purpose.
Your kids might also have to grieve for some time before they get used to the change. No matter what you say about the new home they might insist that they like their old home better. Don’t try to push them into showing enthusiasm they aren’t ready to display. They’ll get used to the changes soon enough.
Second, be patient with yourself. You might have to run to Walmart a few times for items that you forgot to keep handy when you were packing. You might lose something or break something. You might have to subsist on takeout for a few nights while you’re trying to juggle everything else. Getting by during your move may not be ideal, but you’ll get through it.
Soon, you’ll all be happily relaxing in your new home.