Moving to a new home is hard enough for adults. We have to manage a lot of paperwork, pack up all of our accumulated stuff, and learn to navigate a new neighborhood or even a new state. But for kids, moving is a whole different kind of challenge. Leaving the home that has been their whole world might really shake a child’s sense of security and belonging. So if you are moving with children, there are a few steps you can take to ease the process just a little.
Be open about moving to a new home
Very few children handle surprises well unless it’s a surprise new toy. First, be certain you have the majority of the big details ironed out: where exactly are you moving to? When will you be moving? What is your new home like? Anticipate the questions that your child will probably ask, and be prepared. By telling your child about the move well in advance, you give them the opportunity to get used to the idea. The more they can be involved in the excitement of preparation at an age-appropriate level, the better.
Use age-appropriate, honest language around moving
Regardless of the reason for your move, your children need some sort of answer to why? It may or may not make sense to tell them that mom got a new job, or dad needs to live closer to his aging parents. Be as clear as possible with them about what is happening and why. Set a time when everyone can sit together, turn the screens off, and have an upbeat, positive conversation. Do your best to answer their questions, and be prepared for more to emerge. They may storm off to their room, they may get excited, or they may pretend not to care. As a parent, your job is to make sure they feel heard and reassure them that they are secure.
Let your child participate in moving decisions
Sometimes, older children may feel frustrated that they didn’t have any say in the decision to move. That makes it all the more important to include them in other decisions around moving day. If they are of an appropriate age, they could help you pack, choose paint colors for their new room, or help decide which toys should be donated. Even asking for their help in choosing what to have for dinner on the night before the move can help them feel included.
Reassure and be positive about the move
It may be time for you to gather as much cheeriness and positivity as you can muster. Children are incredibly sensitive to the mood and experience of the adults in their lives, so be aware of what you say and do. This might be just the extra motivation you need to manage your own stress better during this time! Take good care of yourself, make time for breaks, and don’t forget the power of quality time being present with your children.
Maintain a routine before the move
Children, especially young ones, thrive on routine. During the hubbub leading up to the move, it’s easy for routines to fall by the wayside. Determine what aspects of your family’s routines you can stick to, and make an effort to keep them in place. Family meals away from screens can be a great time to check in with your children to answer any questions that have come up. Or if your child still takes naps, make that a time to really be present and let them know you’re a team.
Explain what moving day will be like
As moving day approaches, your child will probably have more questions. Explain in as much detail as you can what moving day will be like. Make a plan to keep your child entertained during the move, whether that’s by organizing a playdate or setting them up with a game or toys. Tell them about what the movers will do and, if they are old enough, give them tangible tasks. Make sure they know that they will need to stay out of the movers’ way. Identify a specific place for your child to be that feels safe and has plenty of familiar things.
Have your children introduce themselves to the movers
When a bunch of strangers is bustling around in the house, your child might feel uncomfortable. Speak with the foreman about having your children introduce themselves, and learn the names of the movers. When the movers feel less like strangers and more like new friends, moving day becomes less stressful for the little ones!
Whether you’re moving a few blocks over or clear across the country, FlatRate Moving can help. We’ll keep things organized and efficient so you and your kids can get settled as soon as possible!