Moving to a new house is extremely stressful for the entire family. Even though kids don’t sign leases or mortgages or do most of the packing (lucky them!), they can still feel uprooted and overwhelmed about moving to a new place.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be able to ease the stress of moving for you and your kids.
1. Tell your kids ASAP
It’s always best to tell your kids as soon as possible that they’ll be moving, so everyone can emotionally prepare for the experience.
If you’re having trouble explaining the move, describe it like a fun journey or adventure — because that’s kind of what it is! Tell them about how you’ve accepted a new job, or facts about your new town. Help them remember that you’re eager to start this new journey together.
2. Get them involved
People — including kids — feel better when they’re involved in the planning process. It gives them the feeling that they have some kind of input into what’s happening, which reduces anxiety.
You may want to handle most of the packing and cleaning yourself — and to be honest, you’ll probably do a better job than your kids. But try to find small, simple ways your kids can help out, whether by sweeping after you’ve moved furniture, or packing a box of toys. You’ll appreciate the help, and they’ll appreciate being part of the process.
3. Take care of yourself
Moving is stressful. You’ll probably be anxious through most of your move. That level of stress will have a bad effect on your mood — and when you’re upset, everyone can feel the stress.
During the move, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and eat healthy food. This will make it far easier to take care of your kids in a spirit of patience and compassion, no matter how hectic your move becomes.
4. Let them know what to expect
We fear what we don’t know or don’t understand. When you’re touring homes and weighing your options, it’s easy to forget how your kids weren’t along with you on that journey. Wouldn’t you be scared to move into a place you’d never seen before?
Set aside a few minutes to take pictures of your new home. Share these with your kids, and tell them about the places they’re about to experience. This will make moving into this space for the first time fun, rather than scary.
5. Hold fast to routines
Kids thrive on daily routines. (So do adults!) But during a busy move, it’s easy to lose sight of these routines, which adds to stress and uncertainty.
Don’t lose your routines. If you go for a walk every day at a certain time, keep on doing that, no matter how busy or distracted you are. If you help them with homework, keep doing that. Don’t forget to have dinner on the table, as often as you can, on the same schedule you usually do. This will help kids feel like they’re still in the rhythms of everyday life — just in a new place.
6. Make time for goodbyes
Goodbyes are hard, so a lot of people avoid them. But they create a sense of closure that’s valuable to both kids and adults.
On the last day of school, make sure your kids say goodbye to their teachers and friends. Take them around the neighborhood on move-out day so they can see friends and neighbors. And although it may make you feel silly, plan a little extra time for them to walk through the house to say goodbye to each room.
7. Set up kids’ spaces
Not having a bedroom or workspace leaves you feeling uprooted. Kids are the same way. Do your best to set up a space for your kids — preferably a bedroom — as soon as you’ve moved in. It doesn’t have to be completely unpacked, but it’ll serve as a good home base — and it’ll keep them busy unpacking and organizing their new space.
8. Do something fun
Moving is both tedious and overwhelming. Why not do something to celebrate when you’re done? Explore the neighborhood, throw a party, or find a new restaurant to try. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Your kids will appreciate the distraction, and you probably will too.
9. Stay in Touch
It’s easy to lose sight of friends and family after you’ve moved. Encourage your kids to take down friends’ and teachers’ contact information before moving. Remind them to write to their old friends to let them know how much they miss them, and to update them on everything new and exciting that’s happened since the move.
10. Make room for bad feelings
Nobody likes being told what to feel. Bad feelings of fear, anger, and sadness will come up naturally during a move.
These feelings can’t be controlled, but you can control how you react to them. Tantrums aren’t OK, but if your kids are expressing sorrow or fear, it’s important to hold space for them throughout their process. These feelings will pass, and there will be plenty of time to enjoy the good things to come.
All these tips will help you move as peacefully as possible. But if you’re looking to take an extra step toward an easy, happy move that’ll take the pressure off your family, go to Ayer Moving and Storage. Ayer Moving works hard to provide top-notch professional moving services to families in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Take the first step toward a painless move today by calling 1-800-233-MOVE.