Making a move is never easy on anyone. Even if it is just a move across town, it can still be a stressful time on the family. One concern I often hear from parents is how their kids will handle the move. Many kids will make the transition seamlessly, while others may have a tougher time with it. Here are a few tips that can help make the transition easier on your kiddos:
1. Allow your kids to see your true feelings about the move. If you are nervous or sad about certain things, allow your kids to see that! They are navigating a lot of feelings, and this will help them see that their feelings are normal. This will help them learn to process their emotions in a positive way. Of course, if your overall attitude is a positive one, theirs will likely follow.
2. Give them things to be excited about in the new home. What features do you think they will love? Maybe they get to pick their new room color, or maybe the new home has a playroom. Giving them things to look forward to can help shift their focus from apprehension to excitement.
3. Be patient with them. Know that a move will be a lot for your children to process, and children will process these changes at their own pace. If you have multiple children, one might adjust to the transition faster than the other one.
4. Keep as close to your normal routine as possible. This can be especially challenging during a move, however, it’s one of the best things you can do for your kids. If you normally have family movie night on Friday night, try and keep that! Consistency for kids can create feelings of security. With so many changes happening, keeping small routines as normal as possible will help kids handle the bigger changes easier.
5. Books can also be a great resource, especially for younger kids who might not completely understand what is happening. Louis + Bobo: We are Moving is a great one for kids who are nervous about moving day. The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day is another great one!
6. It sounds obvious, but simply listening to your kids can be huge in knowing the best way to talk to them about the big day. Are they excited about decorating a new room? You may take a trip to the store and have them help pick out some things for their new room. However, if they are nervous about leaving their old room and things, you may want to keep their room exactly how it is. Keeping the same paint and décor in their new room can create a familiarity that makes them more comfortable in the new home. Watching for their cues can take out a lot of the guesswork!
7. If you plan to hire movers, make sure and have your kids pack a small bag of their “favorites”. This ensures they know exactly where to find their favorite stuffed animal or blanket, and help them feel at home faster.
8. Unpack your children’s rooms first. You want them to feel settled as soon as possible, and this will give them something to do while you unpack the rest of the house.
9. If you’ve just potty trained your toddler, or just gotten rid of the pacifier, don’t be surprised if you see some regression. Accepting that this is completely normal can alleviate stress on them and you. It’s a great time to pick your battles and let some things slide.
Moving can be tough on everyone, but it can also be such a great learning opportunity! Moving allows children to begin to learn how to process feelings of excitement, or fear and sadness. Every child will handle moves differently, but hopefully by doing some of these things it will allow the process to be smoother for everyone! Happy moving!