Are you planning a move that involves children?
One of the most important things you can do is to talk with your children about the move. A move can be necessary, but you always need to consider how it will affect those around you, especially your family.
In fact, the moment you know a move is coming, find a way to tell them. You don’t have to go through the entire plan, but children, even young children, can sense when a change is coming. You want to lower any anxiety that could arise and make the move a good adventure.
Most children will have a lot of questions: Will they make friends? Will they be safe? Will life be better, fun, and return to normal again?
Usually, a move signals that there will be a switch in schools, which can be very stressful.
Remember that while moving is much less complicated for children, it still involves change, which is a massive thing for young and old.
Prepare for the Big Move
Children feel safe at home—with familiar rooms and neighborhoods with their friends. A move for children to a new location can alter those feelings! So, you want to research the area where you are moving. Are there parks and places where they can play?
While the great unknown brings excitement, it can also bring anxiety. The steps below can be used to help children feel more comfortable with a relocation.
Place these on your moving checklist, and address every fear or feeling of being unsettled. Families can adopt a sense of team spirit where life is done together and decisions are discussed.
- Talk with Your Children about the Move. In your research, collect information on “kid-friendly” locations and places where you can take them to eat that are fun. Is there a zoo nearby or a nature preserve where you can take them to explore, run, and discover new things?
- When you visit your new home, take your children with you. You want your decision to be something that works for the entire family. Visiting the new home can be a first step to calming fears and setting an “at home” feeling.
- Make sure your children are a part of the move. At every turn, ensure you include your child in the moving process. Don’t burden them with details that could be overwhelming, but do include them in discussions that talk about their new home: It has a nice backyard. It’s near their new school. There are excellent places to walk their dog. There are fun places you can visit as a family.
- Make the move as easy and steady as possible. Moves are unsettling no matter how hard you try to keep everything balanced. But you can and should devise a plan that keeps you and your children feeling like you are in control. This is where having a plan for the scope of your move is essential.
- Avoid feelings that display too much frustration. All of us hit points of frustration. Schedules get off track. The cable did not get turned on by a specific date, and many more things can either go wrong or not quickly happen. Plan for these and tell yourself that responding calmly instead of panicking is better.
- Have a box set aside for each child. On the day of the move, it’s crucial to have an essentials box packed for your child that contains personal items he or she uses each day—toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo, and other things they will need the first few days. In that box, make sure they have—
- Favorite toys
- Books to read
- Computer or iPad with games to play
- Bedroom items that help to create their own space
- A nightlight
- Photos of friends and family
- Changes of clothes and bedtime clothes
- Bathroom items.
If they are old enough, let them unpack their bathrooms and even some of their clothes. The more they feel at home, the easier the transition will be. Here’s a tip: place this box along with yours in your car so that it is easily found. Then, everyone has what is needed.
As you unpack, consider allowing children to help decorate their rooms. This provides a sense of inclusion. You may not like everything they do, but you will be happier knowing they are happy in their new home!
Finally, after the move, take them out for a special dinner—pizza or a hamburger! No one cooks, but everyone enjoys taking on this new adventure and taking the next step in life!
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