Your children are probably just as excited as you are about the new house that you are going to move into, but the truth is, moving can be very stressful for kids – even if they don’t show it.
Children attach familiarity to a home and they can get very anxious and confused when they hear they will leave their safe nest. Luckily, there are many ways in which parents can limit the confusion and help kids transition into the new space with ease.
Here are a few helpful tips for moving parents with kids:
#1 – Communication is key
The most important thing to do is to talk to the children about the move in advance.
It takes children a bit longer to adapt than adults so they will need time to mentally prepare for the move themselves. Use age-appropriate language to convey your message as clearly as possible.
This will differ from child to child and the parent will know which way is best. An older child might understand the complexity of a job transfer, but a younger child might be more accepting to a new house if it has more room to play in, for example.
#2 – Involve the children in decisions
During the moving process, try and involve your children in the decisions that you and your partner would normally make alone. This will make them feel part of the process and the chances that they will reject the move will decrease.
If you go to an open house, ask them to make a list of things they like and dislike. Discuss this with them on the way home.
Another way to get them excited is to ask them where they would like to place their toys and beds in their new rooms, or what color they would like to paint it.
#3 – Get books or do research
Children usually reject stuff because they fear the unknown – like most, if not all, adults, too.
Visit the library or go online to see if you can find books on packing, moving, and organizing that will interest younger children.
If they can visualize themselves doing something, they will be more prone to do so. For older children, you can research activities and entertainment areas in the new neighborhood that they can look forward to once they move there. Maybe there is a huge mall or a cool ice skating rink close by.
#4 – Delay making too many changes too soon
Moving into a new home can get parents’ creative juices flowing.
You are probably already looking forward to painting the living room a different color or getting rid of your furniture in order to buy new ones. This might throw your kids off course even more.
It would be a good idea to keep everything as it was in your old home just so that they can get used to the new environment. As soon as they are familiar with the new place, you can involve them in redecorating it.
#5 – Reconnect to move forward
When you move, you don’t just move out of a neighborhood, but you also move away from family and friends that might have been a safety net for your child.
Don’t lose those ties with them. Let one of their friends come over to the new house to spend the weekend and encourage your child to visit them in your old neighborhood.
Don’t lose touch with your family either. If Grandma and Grandpa visited your every Saturday, keep to that arrangement. If it is too far, consider Skyping or phoning them so that your child still feels safe and familiar.