Moving with children can be a complicated process, but it does not have to be a traumatic experience for the child. It is important for parents to understand that moving will be a drastic change for most children. They will be leaving friends and classmates that they have known for years, saying goodbye to teachers and coaches, and leaving a familiar neighborhood behind.
Keeping an open line of communication with your child can go a long way toward calming their nerves. Make sure you talk about the move early on and keep the child “in the loop” regarding dates. If they understand what is going on, they will be less apprehensive of the changes. Check in regularly, asking “What can I do to help you?” if you are unsure of what your child needs.
Before the Move
If you are looking for a new home, let your children look at pictures of the houses you are interested in buying. Once you have chosen your new home, let them help pick out the design for their new bedroom. If possible, you can even let them pick which bedroom they would like to have. Take them to a local home improvement store and let them look at possible paint colors for their new room. Planning future purchases can help to turn something that is unknown and scary into something that is exciting and fun.
During the Move
Let your child help with the packing. Packing and labeling boxes can help your child feel like they have control over some aspects of the move. Talk to them about the moving truck and let them know when their belongings will be delivered to the new home.
If possible, get a few extra moving boxes for small children to play in. Large cardboard boxes make great temporary playhouses for children. As an added bonus, children that are playing in cardboard boxes will not be underfoot while you are trying to pack fragile items.
After the Move
After the move, you should try to keep up as much of a routine as possible. Even though all of your belongings will probably still in boxes, you should try to keep up with regular mealtimes and bedtimes. While this is important for kids of all ages, younger kids, in particular, thrive on routine. Knowing what is happening now and what is coming next can help to reduce anxiety in kids of all ages.
Being the “new kid” at a school can be difficult at first. Make sure that your kids know as much as possible about the new school before they transition. Venturing into the unknown is hard at any age, but it can be especially difficult for children.
Signing older kids up for extracurricular activities is a great way to help them make new friends with similar interests. Think about the activities they enjoyed in their old neighborhood and look for local groups or teams they can join as soon as you move.
By taking these steps before, during, and after the move, you can help make the transition as smooth as possible. Browse this website for more tips on moving to a new area or contact Francine McElhenny at 772.925.9587 or francine(at)francinekidder(dotted)com.