In a few short weeks, my children will be moving from the only home they have ever known, to… well, I don’t know where yet. We are still looking for our next house. I am worried that the move will be hard on them, even though they are young and will adapt, so I looked up some advice on how to make the process easier for them. Here is what I found:
Tell your kids early
Many kids hate surprises, and springing a move on them is no exception. Kids need time to process information in advance of a big change. This will give you plenty of opportunity to talk it through, as many times as you need to. My six year old daughter has had a series of questions that have evolved over the last few months, and it has been beneficial to her to have time to ask all of her questions on her own timeline.
Think of the Good Points
If you are excited about moving, your kids will probably be excited too. High School kids may be an exception to that rule as they may be leaving their friends behind, but younger kids are still trying to form attachments in the world and will most likely adapt well to the changes. With my daughter, I have focused on the good points. It’s a local move so she can still see all of her friends, and there will be tons of kids in the neighborhood for her to play with, unlike in our current location. Also, this is an opportune time for her to get the purple room she has always wanted, so we have talked a lot about what she wants her room to look like.
Get Your Kids Involved
I once heard a story of a little boy who came home from school and found his house empty. His parents had forgotten to tell him that it was moving day. Keep your kids in the loop; they can sense when you are hiding something, or when something is bothering you. Rather than spare them the details, let them be part of the moving process, or even help you find a home. My daughter has gone through several houses and delighted in them all. She knows that we are not necessarily going to buy the house we are exploring, but that it is an option. Through her, we have seen the houses from a child’s perspective.
Allow your children time to say goodbye to the people and places that are important to them. This may mean a few extra trips to their favorite park or an extra play date with a neighbor. Whatever the case, it is important for them to have closure. If the list is just too long, have them pick the people/places that are the most important and focus on those.
The kids are the bosses
Although my daughter wants to redecorate her room, I know she will be comforted to see that all of her belongings from her current room made the trip with her. It is important that the kids rooms are one of the first rooms to be unpacked and that they have at least some control over where things go. Since my son is younger, we plan to make his future room look as close as possible to his current one.
Young kids especially may have trouble after you have physically moved. The novelty is going to wear off and the reality will set in. Make sure you are present and ready to talk and /or give cuddles for as long as they need.
What tips do you have for moving day?