How to Prepare Your Kids for a Move
Moving can be hard for anyone, even fully-grown adults, which is why it’s no surprise that moving can be especially tough for children. As a parent, you likely want to do all that you can to make the transition easier on your kids.
With that in mind, below on a few tips on how to prepare your kids for a move. Read them over so that you have a better idea of what to expect and of how to help them move forward.
Involve them in the moving process
To put it simply, moving is a big deal. Many children get upset around the idea of moving because they feel like their entire life is being uprooted and they don’t have any say in the matter. While some things in the moving process are undoubtedly going to be out of their control, you can help minimize their feelings of helplessness by involving them in it as much as possible.
To that end, before you get too far along in the process, take some time to brainstorm some ways in which you can involve them. Can they help weigh in on your list of “must-haves” for the home? Do you feel comfortable bringing them along on showings? Can they pick out their own room in the new house?
Also, be sure to keep them in the loop whenever you make any progress on the moving front. Even if they can’t be directly involved in a particular aspect of the decision-making, hearing about what’s going on will help them to feel included.
Honor their feelings about the move
Certain aspects of moving can feel like a loss, especially for children who may be leaving behind the only home they’ve ever known. It’s crucial to honor your children’s feelings around the issue and to do your best to give them space to let you know how they are feeling.
Remember, there are five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s possible that your child could go through all five of the stages or they might only go through a few. However, keep in mind that they are all perfectly normal reactions to a major life change.
Rather than rolling your eyes when your child exhibits their emotions, it’s best to reassure them. Let them know that it’s common for people to have strong emotions around moving and that you’re there for them.
Have a going away party
One of the best ways to process grief is to get a chance to say goodbye. In that light, it may be helpful to host a goodbye party for your child and their close friends. While this may seem a little over-the-top, it helps to frame the goodbye in a positive light.
During the party, you can make sure to take a photo with your child and each of their friends, which will give them a keepsake that they can look back on later, You can also give out postcards with your new address on them as a party favor.
Explore your new neighborhood
Before the move, if at all possible, take your child to explore your new neighborhood. Be sure to frame this trip as something exciting, an adventure you’re embarking on for the day.
As the parent, it’s your job to do the prep work and set up the tour. Do your best to visit any places that your child will be visiting on the regular, like their school, the playground, or the local arcade.
However, in addition to the tour, you’ll want to also make sure that this is a fun day out as well. Feel free to stop for ice cream, take some time to play on the playground, or spend some time at the arcade. You should do whatever you think will help cement the new surroundings as a positive place in your child’s mind.
Start planting roots in advance
If you don’t live too far away from your new neighborhood, consider making the effort to help your child start to nurture some new connections and friendships before you make your move. That way, when the move is finalized, they won’t feel like they’re starting over from scratch.
To do this, you could have your child join the local baseball team in the new town or sign them up for karate lessons at a studio that’s close to your new house. This will give them time to slowly acclimate to their new surroundings and start to form new bonds.
If your child is also starting a new school, it may be helpful to have them (and you) meet with their new teacher as well. That way, you can discuss any of their unique needs or strengths in person and your child will have the lay of the land before their first day.