If you’re moving with your family, it can be an overwhelming time for everyone. Not only do you need to plan and organize everything, but your kids will likely be feeling pretty shaken up.
For kids, the place they live is part of who they are. Years in young lives contain many milestones and chances are, a lot of their experiences and understanding of the world center around their neighborhood. Even if you’re only moving a few blocks away it can feel like a new world completely.
We have some tips on how to make moving easier on your family and ease the transition for everyone.
By getting a head start you can ensure the moving process doesn’t feel stressed and rushed. If you have a chance to decide when you move, try to choose a time in between school years. If your kids will go to a new school it’s best to get them started at the same time as everyone else. Plus, moving in summer means a bit of time to enjoy long days in your new neighborhood.
Planning ahead gives you plenty of time to chat through the process and communicate along the way. It also helps kids to really understand and adjust to the idea. They’ll be able to chat with friends, and exchange contact information, and if you’ll move too far for regular play dates you’ll have a chance to decide how best to stay in contact.
Last-minute scrambling is stressful for everyone, not just kids, so try to avoid that by planning ahead.
Check out your new neighborhood
The unknown can be a bit scary or bring up anxious feelings. It’s particularly challenging for kids to imagine the unknown since they have less experience in the world. If you live close enough, go visit your new neighborhood.
Check out your new local park, grab breakfast at your new local cafe, and even trace the steps of a morning walk to school. This will help kids see what life will be like after the relocation and eliminate some stress.
If you’re moving too far to easily pay a visit, don’t worry! You can also have an adventure thanks to Google Maps. Check out the neighborhood and your street and start to pin some places to visit. Make a list of things to check out and start getting excited about your exploration.
Pack an essentials box
Making a good first impression also involves arriving in your new home smoothly. Nothing says “welcome home” like a good night’s sleep with a favorite stuffed animal, book, and pair of pajamas.
Save yourself the evening stress by packing with your first night (or two) in mind. Clearly label an Essentials Box and pack – you guessed it – the essentials. That includes everything you’ll need for the first couple of nights in your new home:
- Bed linens and towels
- Change of clothes
- Toiletries and medication
- Kid’s favorites (blanket, stuffed toy, book, cup, etc.)
- A couple of sets of dishes and cups
- Coffee maker and coffee
By having the essentials you won’t feel pressured to dig and hunt and stress after a long day.
Get kids involved
Many parents feel like they are saving their kids from the stress of moving by keeping them from getting involved. The reality for many children, though, is that they feel powerless and disconnected from the process.
Decide on some age-appropriate responsibilities you can assign to your kids or have them join you. Whether it’s packing their toys or decorating boxes to label them, this will help them feel more a part of the big move. You’ll help them feel like you’re all a team and they’ll be able to relax.
Validate everyone’s feelings
Moving can be scary, sad, and uncomfortable. It can feel unfair. It can also feel thrilling and exciting, bringing curiosity. It’s possible to feel all of these things all at once, even.
It’s important to give space for any emotion your kids – or, for that matter, you – may be feeling about the move. Let them express themselves without judgment and let them know that everything they feel is okay. While you may want to take away uncomfortable feelings, make sure not to invalidate them by trying to talk them out of them.
Let them know that how they feel is natural and rational, and then talk through the process. Give them some things to look forward to while showing them you understand that there are also things to be sad about.