Tips for Moving with Kids
Whether you’re moving around the corner or to a new city, if you’ve got kids, there are special challenges you will face. Moving is a process that can often be chaotic and traumatic for the average adult, so just imagine how your children might feel about such a big change. When you have kids, it’s important to communicate with them about the move so that you can keep their needs and concerns in mind throughout the process. This will ensure that they feel safe and in control of something that may seem bigger than they are at times.
Tips for Moving with Kids:
- Be Up Front: Communication is always important. Explain the move to them as soon as possible so that they have time to adjust to the idea of living in a new home. Provide them with as much information as possible about the upcoming move, and answer their questions truthfully. Involve them in the moving preparations as much as possible. Explain how their new home and city will be perfect for the whole family. Tell them about their new school, and show them pictures and floor plans of the home in advance. If possible, bring them to visit the new neighborhood before the move so they can see it for themselves. The more they know in advance about where they are going and what it will really be like, the more in control they will feel when they arrive.
- Take Care of Mr. Bear: Before the move, set aside special time to sit with them and make a small box of their favorite things. This may be their favorite stuffed animal, blanket or toys. Make sure to keep these in a special place during the move so they don’t get lost, and personally bring them with you when you travel to the new home. These little comforts can go a long way toward making kids feel safe and secure in a new bed, room or house and among their new surroundings.
- Making Space Personal: Let them make the decorating choices for their own rooms to make a space where they truly feel comfortable. Allowing them to choose their paint color, curtains, bedding and décor will get them more excited about the move and spending time in their new rooms. If you’re concerned that their style doesn’t quite live up to your idea of a perfectly decorated room, narrow the options down to a few choices you’d be happy with and let them make the final decision. Even this small level of control will help them feel more relaxed and give them a safe haven from the stress of a new home.
- New Best Friends: If your kids are nervous about meeting new friends, make it a priority to research activities of interest to them in your new community, such as sports teams, art classes, or other after-school activities. Getting your kids involved with the things they already love to do will put them at ease and help them to make friends more quickly. If you live in a building or on a street with other kids their age, make an effort to introduce yourselves to those families and arrange a play-date or family get-together. You never know—you may end up making some new friends in the process as well.
- Around Town: If you feel your kids are anxious about their new neighborhood and not knowing their way around, take time out to give them a tour. Take a walk around the block, bike around the neighborhood, or go for a Sunday drive to point out the places you will frequent. You could even make a game of running errands on the weekends and have fun using a scavenger hunt approach. Give your kids clues about each destination you will visit to see if they can guess where you are headed next.
- New School: If your children must change schools because of the move, make it a point to visit the school with them before classes start. If you can, find out what classroom they will be in so you can show them how to get there, and walk through the grounds and hallways with them. This will put them more at ease and better able to focus on making new friends when school begins and the halls fill with strangers.
Have you moved with kids? Share your tips with us.