Helping Your Children through Your Move

A residential move takes children into uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory. Here are some tips to explain what is happening, deal with their feelings, engage them in the process, and help them adjust to their new home.

Communication Is Key

Toddlers are different than teens, and how you communicate depends on their age, but many principles are the same.

Tell Them Promptly

Let your children know as soon as you’ve definitely decided to move, so they have time to process the information. Tell them when you’ve selected your new home. Inform them as soon as you know the moving date.

Hearing these things may be uncomfortable for them, but not as awkward as being in the dark.

Listen

Don’t brush off their concerns. Acknowledge their worries. If they say, “I’ll miss my friends,” agree. Give them time before telling them they’ll make new friends.

Be willing to let them rant a little. Even if the move is right for your kids and the family, they may not initially see it that way.

Explain

Younger children, in particular, may misinterpret preparations for moving. When you put toys into a box, let them know these aren’t disappearing for good.

Tell them some things will be different, but others will stay the same. There will be a new school, a new community, and new neighbors.

But there will still be the family. Dinnertime and other family traditions will continue. Many things in their rooms will be unchanged. They can still participate in sports and activities they like, albeit with new groups.

Learn about Your New Home

Once you know the new house you’re moving into, show them their new home. If it’s close, drive-by. If it’s distant, use pictures and Google Maps.

Visit, physically or online, the schools and parks they’ll have. Check out the playground, the ice cream parlor, and area attractions such as rivers, lakes, and historical landmarks.

Encourage older children to read the new online newspaper. Make it a family project to discover as much as possible about the community.

Engage Children in Moving

Ask your children what’s most important to bring and what’s not as important. They may surprise you.

Have the child help layout their new room. Is it the same size and shape? Should the bed go in a similar spot? What’s the best place for dolls or stuffed animals?

Here’s a hint from Parents. Suggest the child take pictures of what they’re leaving, and encourage more photos during the trip and at the new home.

Getting Them Settled In

Moving isn’t done when the bags are unpacked. It takes time to make a new house into a home. Be realistic.

Kids may struggle in school at first. Be supportive and work with teachers to provide any little extra they might need. It takes anywhere from six weeks to six months to adapt.

Be prepared for a certain amount of crying and complaining. It doesn’t mean they’re going to be unhappy forever.

Enroll them in activities. Keeping busy is a cure for many ills, and it’s a great way to meet new friends. You might even sign up for something new yourself!

Moving Plan

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