Moving house can be a stressful time on all members of the family, but it is often most stressful for the children. A new home also means a new environment, a new routine, a new school, and the loss of everyone and everything they loved about their old home. However, you can help your children prepare for a tough move by being sensitive to the fact that, to them, it feels like their whole world is in upheaval.
Tips for Helping Children Handle A Major Move
- Don’t Wait to Spill the Beans: The sooner you tell your children that you will be moving, the better. Give them plenty of time to get used to the idea, and to sort out their feelings about saying goodbye to their old home. The transition from old to new will be far less shocking when your kids have had lots of time to think about it. You can even show them some pictures of homes you may be considering at http://www.russellres.com.
- Remind Them That It’s a New Home, Not a New Life: Do you remember a time when you had to move house as a child? Tell your kiddos about your moving experience, and that you understand how they are probably feeling about their move. Explain that while a lot of things will be different, many things will stay the same. They will have the same furniture, for example, and can still keep up friendships from home. When they remember all the things that won’t change, they may find it easier to accept the things that have to change.
- Give Them an Active Role in the Moving Process: All kids love to be involved in what’s going on, so don’t hesitate to involve yours. Let them pack up their room or some of their belongings, and let them decide where their furniture will go in their new bedrooms. Make sure to keep them informed on what’s going on, too – write down the date of your move on the family calendar, and you can even explain some of the lingo of the industry to them if they’re old enough. Keeping your children informed and involved is the best way to help them feel that their voices are being heard.
- Keep It Positive: It can be easy, even for adults, to focus on all the bad things about a situation. Children can do the same thing, even if you don’t think that they are. Any time you talk about your move, make sure you focus on the positive aspects of it. Listen to what they have to say about it as well, and try to offer constructive solutions to the things that are really bothering them. They need you to show them that things will turn out alright in the end.
- Take a Field Trip to Your New Home: One good way to keep things positive is to take a field trip to the home you will live in beforehand. Take a day off from work and give them a day pass from school, and try a restaurant in the area while you are out. Explain where you are going to put things, what colors you will paint certain rooms, and anything else you can think of to help them visualise your new house as their home. In the days, weeks, or months in between your field trip and the move, they will have time to familiarise themselves with the new environment to some degree.
- Speaking of Field Trips, Take Some After the Move Too: Instead of waiting until you have moved house to find out what there is to do in the area, check out a tourist website or two to see what looks good. Write a list of a few places you would like to take the kids, and maybe even a few that you would like to visit on your own. Make it a point to actually go shortly after the move – you can promise your kids a treat for the weekend after you move, and give them something to look forward to.
- But Make Sure They Have a Constant: It is a good idea to keep your children occupied after the move, but make sure that their routine stays as close to usual as possible. This is especially important for your youngest tots, who often rely on routine like a security blanket. Sticking to your normal schedule is one of the most tangible ways to let your little ones know that their world isn’t actually ending.
It can be extremely difficult to navigate the rocky waters of a child’s emotions. But you can make a difficult move easier on your children simply by involving them, reassuring them, and lending an ear to what they have to say.
Jai Corbett has helped oversee a number of relocations as part of his work and knows the impact a move can have on a family. He likes to share his ideas and insights online and writes about various property and related topics for a number of different websites.
Most of us made some moves when we were kids. How did you adjust to your new life?