While exciting, moving can be a challenge for everyone involved. Not only the practical side can be daunting, but adjusting to a new place can be a lot to take in. For kids, it can be even more stressful. They’re not part of the decision making process, so things can feel a little out of control. Add to that a change in schools, neighborhood kids, and local scenery, and kids can feel shaken at the prospect of relocation.
All that said, there are ways to make moving easier on kids. This helps them feel more comfortable and secure, and have an easier time adjusting to all of the changes.
Look at it from their perspective
The prospect of moving might be exciting for you – a new place, a new coffee shop around the corner, a shorter commute to work – but your kids see things differently. They’ll be leaving their friends, their neighborhood playground, and the space they’ve been calling “home” until now. Changes can feel disorienting, so make sure you consider your kids perspective about the move.
Having empathy for how these changes may affect your kids will help you to support them in the process. If you find them acting out, irritable, or demanding more attention, have compassion. Being empathetic for how they may be feeling will go a long way in making the move easier for your kids.
Communicate with them
Once you’re able to put yourself in their shoes, it’s easier to have a chat about what’s coming up in the big move. Depending on their age, the topics can vary, but there are a few you can address at any age:
- Remind them that there are things that will stay the same, such as routine and family responsibilities.
- Let them know their favorite things won’t be left behind – that blanket and stuffed animal they love will be coming along to your new home.
- Talk about moving day. No need to go into all of the tiny details of course, but give them an idea of what will happen. This will help them feel more relaxed when the time comes, as they’ll know what to expect.
- Offer some choices where you can, to give them the feeling that they have a say. Maybe they want to keep their favorite toy in their arms instead of a box. Do they have a favorite snack they want to bring? Let them decide on some comforts.
By communicating openly with your child to set expectations and explain what’s going on, you’ll help them feel more secure on moving day.
Visit the neighborhood
If you’re moving locally, it’s very helpful to familiarize your child with their new neighborhood before the big day comes. Taking them to the area and showing them can be not only helpful but a fun adventure. If they’ll be starting at a new school or daycare, arrange for your child to visit the teachers or caregivers before their first day.
If you happen to be moving long distance, some of these things aren’t an option. Instead, teach your child about their new town or city. Show them pictures, tell fun stories, and make a list of fun things to explore with them once you arrive.
Whether you’re moving nearby or long distance, going from the city to a suburban setting can be a big change for all involved. We’ve also put together a list of tips on making sure you (and your family) are prepared for the shift.
Plan your packing
Planning your packing for moving day begins with the order in which you box things up. Start by packing things that are less often used, especially by your child. Save their room and personal things for last, so they still have a familiar space to spend time in your current home. When you do begin to pack, invite your kids to join in the process. Bring crayons or stickers, and let them label their boxes in ways that are easy for them to recognize. This will make moving day much easier for your children, as they’ll feel more involved. They’ll also be able to pick out their boxes of toys easily in the new house.
If you’re moving locally, we recommend having someone take your child for the day. Moving boxes and furniture can feel a bit chaotic, so it’s best if they can have a peaceful place to enjoy themselves while all of this is happening.
If that’s not an option, try to be patient and keep your kids involved in the process on the day. Reassure them as the boxes leave the house, reminding them that you’ll be reunited on the other side. When your old house is empty, take them from room to room to say goodbye. Answer any questions they may have along the way. This is a good moment for a bit of closure before starting in a new home.