Saying Goodbye to Your Home Isn’t Easy, Especially for Children
There is no denying it. Moving is difficult for everyone, but especially for children who don’t feel in control of the situation. So what can you do when preparing children for a move? Here are some tips to help make your move go smoothly.
Let the children know what is going on.
If you try to keep it a secret, they will know something is “up,” and will feel left out. It’s best to tell toddlers about a month ahead of time. Show consideration by telling older children sooner, giving them more time to emotionally prepare. Remind younger children about the move often in an exciting, yet natural way. Point out something in a store and mention that a particular item “would look nice in your new room when we move.” Reassure them that their toys and pets will be coming along.
Keep them involved in the moving process.
Write the date of the move on a wall calendar and the date that you will all begin the packing process in preparing children for a move. Let the children pack up their rooms, as appropriate for their age, and let them make labels and decorate their boxes with crayons or markers. Work together to create a floor plan for their new rooms.
Familiarize the children with the new house and area.
If the children haven’t seen the new house, take pictures or video so they can become familiar with their new surroundings. Depending on age, the kids may like taking photos of their current home to document the move. When they get to their new home, they can take photos to send to their friends. Get a map of the area where you are moving. Mark several places of interest and where the new home and school will be. Discuss the local places you’ll visit once you get settled in your new home.
Let them make some decisions.
When preparing preparing children for a move, allow them decision-making power so they feel a bit more in control of the situation. Let them pick out the paint color for their room, wall décor, new bedding, or a rug. They will love getting to make their own selections and they will be more excited about the move. Older children can be asked their opinions about home décor as well, or if mature, accompany you when you are looking at homes with a realtor.
Celebrate the move with a going-away party!
Create some lasting memories in your current home with a party to mark this momentous occasion. Have the children help plan the event and create the invitations. A stuffed toy on which friends can write a special message or an address book for friends to enter their contact info are great ways to maintain connections. Give out bags to all guests with self-addressed, stamped cards for the kids’ friends to send.
Don’t plan the gathering too close to your departure date. A party the day before the move can become a sad event. Plan to get together a week or two before the move, so that no one feels they are seeing each other for the last time before moving day.
Saying Goodbye. It is OK to be upset.
Allow your children to be sad or angry about the move. It won’t last forever. Some experts say it takes about six months for a child to completely acclimate to a new lifestyle (some adults, too!)
Plan to stay in touch with friends.
Discuss with your children how they can maintain their relationships by using social media, video calls, texts, and written communication. If you will be able to visit your old hometown, pick a date that you can be sure to keep and mark it on the calendar.
Connect with your new location.
Check out Scouting, music or dance lessons, martial arts or gymnastics, religious communities, children’s museums, zoos, parks, library, and recreation center. Discuss these with the children and learn what activities they might be interested in exploring in their new community.
Ask family and friends for help with babysitting.
Depending on your kids’ ages, you may want and need them to be occupied elsewhere when you are searching for your new home or packing in preparation for your move. Help is invaluable on these days and on moving day itself.
Explain what’s going to happen on moving day. Kids like to know what’s in store for them and talking through the details of the day will let them know what to expect and what is expected of them. Pack a moving day kit for each child with some of their favorite toys, coloring books, an electronic device loaded with movies and games they can play. Don’t forget bottled water and a snack or two.
It is important for you (and your children) to keep a positive outlook about the move. Don’t compare your old community with the new in a negative way. It will be easier for your children to adjust if you are adjusting well, too.
Children will experience the move easier and will be more excited about it when you employ some or all of these tips to include them in your upcoming move.
If you have questions about a stress-free move, call the relocation specialists at Ayer Moving and Storage at 800-233-6683.