In the shuffle of packing all the boxes, finding a new house, hiring the movers and selling your old place, it’s easy to forget how hard it can be for kids to deal with moving. I know I write a lot for this blog regarding fitness, but a healthy lifestyle also includes not only a strong, socially fit relationship with your kids but also providing your children with support when they need it. Having dealt with this situation myself, here are a few tips from me, other parents, and experts who all understand how hard change can be for a child- but how easy it is to make it a positive change!
Between leaving neighbors and friends, finding a new school or saying goodbye to their room, kids have a lot more to cope with than we may think.
To help make the move a bit easier on your kids, you should get them involved in the process, give them plenty of time to bid farewell and make settling into the new place an exciting adventure.
1) Make Them A Part of the Process: Regardless of how old your children are, letting them get involved in the process is a great way to help them get used to the idea of moving. Invite your kids to come along and look at a few new house options. Show them which room they’ll have, where they can put their toys or posters and take them to their new school or daycare for a visit. If you have older kids, give them time to explore the school with another student without you tagging along by their side. You can also let kids help pack and label boxes and letting younger kids keep their favorite toys close on moving day will help them feel more secure.
2) Take Time to Say Goodbye: Saying goodbye to the old house, the old city or even the old state takes time. Depending on how far away you’re moving, you might need more time than you think for your kids to get used to the idea of moving. If you’re relocating to an entirely different state or country, give younger kids the opportunity to take plenty of pictures and make a memory book of their old room, friends, town or school. Give younger kids the opportunity to say goodbye to every room in the house, their school, friends or favorite spots in town. Older kids would love the opportunity to have friends over for a final farewell bash a few nights before the move. Don’t rush the process of parting ways and ask your kids what they would like to do to say goodbye.
3) Make A Settling in Checklist: As you’re saying goodbye to your old life, you can simultaneously prepare for your new life. To make the transition easier, give kids something to look forward to in the new location by making a settling in checklist. Your list might include items like investing your new neighborhood, finding a new park, visiting the new school, unpacking their room, finding new restaurants or meeting neighbors. Do something small to celebrate checking off each item and don’t hesitate to add new items to the list even after you’re moved into the house. Settling can take a long time and the process continues even after the boxes are unpacked.
Communication is one of the most important parts of helping kids make a smooth transition. If they become angry, overly emotional or withdrawn, don’t ignore them. Continuously ask them how they’re feeling and let them know that it’s ok to be upset about moving. Moving can be hard on the whole family, but encourage your kids to look forward to the excitement and opportunities their new home has to offer.