Regardless of your child’s age, moving somewhere new is a tough endeavor. As humans, we tend to love routine – knowing what to expect and what comes next. The moving process throws a lot of this out of whack, making it challenging for kids to cope with the move. From the loss of friends to the fear of a new school, there are plenty of transitions that happen when a family decides to move.
The good news is that the way you go about the moving process can play a significant role in how your child copes with the move. Experts suggest that to help children more easily adjust, action should be taken before, during, and after the move.
Announce the move ahead of time (if possible).
Try to remember that your child will be feeling helpless as they are not making the decision to move. Aha! Parenting suggests you “listen, acknowledge, and don’t try to talk your child out of their feelings.” For those with kids who might not understand the concept of moving, you can employ the help of stuffed animals in a puppet show illustrating what is going to happen, or by using age-appropriate books that address their feelings and can help give them coping strategies.
Take care of you.
You already know that moving is a difficult process with or without children. Stress just seems to grow as the thought of moving day comes closer. Throw in the need for extra patience with your kids, and the stress just continues to rise. So, do yourself a favor and prioritize sleep! The more you can stay calm, the more your kids will feel that same energy.
Delegating tasks can also create more time for you to take care of the things that matter most to you. Make moving day that much easier and give Elite Moving a call – we’re happy to do the heavy lifting for you.
Enjoy the journey.
Before the packing even begins, let them see where their new home will be! Whether it’s somewhere you can drive to together, a video call when you’re there checking it out, or simply utilizing the internet to scope out the new community together – let them feel a part of the discovery. Explain to them what may be different and what they have to look forward to.
Make packing an experience.
As much as your children are able, allow them to participate in the process. Let them tape the boxes together and pack their belongings. Help them to understand how to pack things and how to take care of delicate items. Allow them to write their name on the box they pack.
By finding out what matters most to your child from their current space may help you to not purge too much before your move. Consider giving them a moving box or bag they can put a few special toys or items in to take with them on moving day.
Children of all ages will feel a number of emotions as their entire world is shifting. Remember, they rely on routine, structure, and a safe space (home). Having understanding and empathy for your kids’ emotions (and the potential acting out that may be a result of those emotions) will help each of you to move through the thick of this process. Do your best to stick to routines whenever you can.
Pictures are worth a thousand words.
On moving day, you can give your child a camera to document the day. Let them begin at your old home and have freedom to capture the journey to your new home. Later, you can help them develop the photos and turn it into a photo album.
Allow choice, where appropriate.
Give your child the opportunity to make choices in ways that impact them. For example, ask them what may help them feel safe in their new home, what color to paint their new room, or employing their help to decorate their room.
Stay in touch.
For many kids, especially the older ones, half the battle of moving is leaving behind their friends, school, and local hangouts. Bright Horizons suggests that by helping your child stay in touch with friends, this can help them feel supported and move into acceptance. This may look like Skype calls, online game play, writing letters, and sharing photos. Communicate with your child about what would mean most to them and help them follow through with it.
Have something to look forward to together.
Whether it be going to dinner at a favorite restaurant, busting out a beloved game, ir maybe it’s going on a walk together in your new neighborhood – find out what your child may look forward to and ensure you stick to the plan.
While you’re enjoying time with your family, allow us to do the unpacking for you.