Moving can be a real thrill, whether it is across town or across the country. While moving is exciting and momentous, it can be a bit overwhelming for children. Thinking ahead and taking several steps can ensure that it is an exciting time for your kids too.
Involve your kids in the process
No matter what their age, kids like to know what to expect. Try to keep them in the loop with age-appropriate information. Write big dates on a calendar, so they know when packing begins, when the movers are arriving, and when the actual closing date is.If you are looking at homes in a specific neighborhood, pull it up on line so that they can see the nearby parks and recreation areas. When you have picked out a specific home, let them come with you to do a walk through. A vacant home invites kids to run through and imagine themselves in it.
Introduce them to their new neighborhood
If you live in the same city or area, this part will be easy. Drive through the neighborhood, so they are familiar with it. Search out parks and coffee shops, places that will make them feel like they are at home. If your move is out of state, becoming familiar with the new neighborhood is still possible. Utilize the internet to introduce your kids to local places, like a neighborhood library or a nearby froyo shop.
Make connections in school and with activities
Stress for children often comes from not knowing what to expect. Taking away the unknowns can help them feel at home and transition to a new place smoothly. If you are able to tour a school before moving, this is an excellent way to get kids on board with a change. Meeting teachers, or at least knowing their names, can help make a new classroom seem less frightening. Besides school transitions, look for comparable extracurricular activities in the new location. Getting your kids into their normal activities, whether they play soccer or dance hip hop, will be one more step to help a new place feel familiar.
Make plans to make the new house feel like home
Encourage kids to have some say in their new space. You can go big by letting them pick out a new paint color for their new room (Remember, hot pink can be easily painted over in a couple of years). If not a wall-to-ceiling color change, have them help with something like fun artwork or a new comforter set. This room can be their own little corner of their new world, so let them put their stamp on it!
Stick to routines if possible
Routines feel safe and secure, even if the rest of the world seems to be changing for your kids. If bedtime is 8PM, try to keep it at 8 o’clock at the new house. If breakfast is a smoothie, plan to have the Vitamix unpacked on Day One. Even routines that may feel inconsequential to an adult can be comforting to a child, so try to keep daily occurrences as smooth as possible.
Involving children in such a large life event can make it an exciting change for them. Even if they feel some natural anxiety or sadness about leaving behind their old home, including them in the moving process can help them feel good about the new home!