While living in a new home in a new city can be an exciting change, the process of moving is often inconvenient for anyone looking to relocate. Very few people look forward to sorting through all of their belongings, packaging everything into boxes, lifting heavy furniture, and then unpacking it all at a new destination. Let’s face it – moving is a hassle.
Now imagine moving with young children at home. Along with all the additional clothing, toys, and furniture that have to be moved, it’s also important to keep your children informed and involved in the move in order to make their transition into their new home as seamless as possible. Nothing makes a move more stressful than children who are kicking and screaming every step of the way.
There are some key things parents can do to help their children warm up to the idea of moving and even feel excited about the impending change. Here are five tips to help kids survive a family move.
1. PLAN AHEAD
If your move is flexible, choose a time that won’t disrupt your children’s normal schedule. If your kids are school age, a move during the summer is ideal. Not only will this be less disruptive to their lives, but it will give your kids the opportunity to start fresh at the beginning of a new school year, rather than forcing them to change schools mid-year.
While you may be able to get away with packing just a day or two before a move when you are moving alone, this is not the case when moving with children. When there are kids in the mix, it is best to begin packing months before the move. Start with mementos and lesser used furniture, but always remember to pack one box of toys last.
One final thing to plan before the big move is a “see you soon” party. This will give your kids a chance to celebrate this occasion with their friends. Gift them a box of stationary and collect their friends addresses so they can start pen pal relationships.
Communication is key when it comes to surviving a move with children. It is important to be upfront with your kids from the very beginning about your plans. Consider telling them about the move over a family meal. Order their favorite pizza and deliver the news in a positive environment.
Talk about the move daily. Keep your kids in the loop about what the process of moving will be like as well as how life will change. Have a plan for moving day so they know exactly what to expect. This will help alleviate any anxiety surrounding the move.
Get them excited about where they will be living by talking to them about the new house and new neighborhood. Do some research on local parks, ice cream parlors, community pools, and other attractions so they will have plenty to look forward to.
3. INCLUDE THEM
Make sure your kids feel included in the moving process and remember that they can participate in the move long before the official moving day. Ask them to help by going through their clothing and toys in preparation for a moving sale. Offer them a percentage of the profits that they can spend once you arrive in your new neighborhood.
If your kids are a bit older, include them in the home buying process. Bring them along while you look for new homes and once you narrow it down to your top two or three, ask for their input. This will help them feel more excited about the move as they will feel as though they played a role in the decision making.
While packing, provide them with different tasks that will keep them occupied. Consider using a coding system for boxes by using different colored tapes or stickers to indicate which box goes in which room. Ask your kids to help label the boxes and then direct where to put each box in the new home.
4. BUILD EXCITEMENT
Whether your new home is within driving distance or not, there are many things you can do get your kids excited about this big change. If possible, take them to visit the new home and explore the neighborhood. Give them an idea of what life will be like after the move.
If you are moving to a different city, it may not be possible to show your children around ahead of time. Instead, get them excited about the journey to the new home. Treat the move like an adventure by buying a map and creating a route that includes sightseeing and other fun attractions along the way.
If your kids are a bit older, give them the freedom to do some research ahead of time. Show them how to learn more about the new city by providing them with books or websites with information about the neighborhood and the many things to look forward to.
5. HELP THEM SETTLE IN
It’s important to help your children settle in to their new surroundings no matter how excited they are to be there. Unpacking may feel like a full-time job but be sure to take frequent breaks to explore the new neighborhood with your kids. Go grab an ice cream cone or throw on your swimsuit for a day at the local pool. Give them an opportunity to meet friends who will go to the same school by enrolling them in activities such as summer camp or team sports.
Help them get accustomed to their new space by asking for help decorating their room. If they are too young to make design choices on their down, decorate the room using their favorite color or ask for their input on specific decorations. After you are unpacked, and the home is decorated, host a housewarming party and invite local families with children around the same age.