Moving can be a difficult process for anyone. With kids specifically, moving is an overwhelming change in their daily routine. As a parent, there are ways to facilitate the process, prepare your kids for the move, and make it a more enjoyable experience for them.
The team at ForSaleByOwner interviewed mental health experts to help come up with tips to ease the moving process.
Tips to prepare your kids for the move
Although the day of moving can be stressful, the time leading up to the day as well as after moving in can be as well. Overall, here are a few tips to prepare your kids for the move when leaving an old house behind:
1. Be on the Same Page With Your Partner
Dr. Laurie Hollman stresses the importance of being on the same page with your partner when it comes to moving. A good way to reduce stress on a kid is if both partners agree to not voice stress about moving in front of the children. Since your kid looks up to you and your partner to feel secure, the uncertainty and stress that you feel shouldn’t be voiced in front of your children.
2. Listen to Their Thoughts
Make sure to set time aside to communicate with your child about the process. Being transparent about their feelings is a great coping strategy in order to prepare them for the big day. It’s important to not overlook their feelings — sit, listen, be there for them.
3. Visit the Home Before Move-In Day
In order to not overwhelm them, make sure to visit the neighborhood in order for the kids to feel comfortable with their new, future environment. This is also a way for them to get excited instead of upset when anticipating moving in. If you get to know your neighbors and community before moving in, the less of a shock the process becomes. If you are moving to a different city, state, or country, a virtual visit and tour of the new homework as well.
4. Keep a Piece of Your Old Home
Keeping a piece of the home is a great way to preserve the memories and make your child keep a piece of the place. Creating a scrapbook with all the photos that were taken in the house can also serve as the necessary quality time spent with your child. You could also have your children draw a picture of the old home to hang in the new home — this fun art project also serves to preserve how they viewed their home.
5. Make Moving a Fun Experience
If your child is old enough to help with moving, try and turn it into a game for them. If they have siblings, make it into a friendly competition on who can pack in the fastest, cleanest way, with a prize given to the winner as an extra incentive. Because of this, it’s likely that moving will be associated with positive feelings in their minds, facilitating the process for later down in their lives.
6. Get Them Involved in Designing Their New Room
Moving can be a creative outlet for kids and adults. A way to ease their nerves and keeping them excited for move-in day is by letting them take part in designing and decorating their rooms. This could be an art project for them, and seeing the room come to life is something they can anticipate and look forward to.
How Different Age Groups Handle Moving
Sometimes, you don’t have a choice determining when you and your family are going to move to a different place. That being said, it is still a good idea to keep in mind how different age groups cope with moving.
How Toddlers Handle Moving
Moving is a noticeable interference with toddlers’ routine. Being in a completely different environment may be a shock, and will take some time for them to adjust. By reading books to them about moving, this will help with the adapting process. When moved in, make sure to keep a new, consistent routine. Since friendships are fairly new with toddlers, moving your child at this stage might be the best age for them to relocate.
How Young Children Cope
When a child enters school, since they are with the same group of kids Monday through Friday, it might be a little bit more challenging for them to move. Dr. Hollman has advised reminding your kids that you are not leaving your friends forever. Try and schedule a visit or video chat play date for the child to look forward to.
How Teenagers Handle Moving
Although the toughest age to move a child, thankfully social media has made moving for this age group slightly more manageable. Teenagers are able to keep in touch with childhood friends with social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s important to get your teens involved in extracurriculars in the new town — social media pals are great but they should also forge friendships at their new school.
Selling your home and moving to a new one is a difficult process in itself. With communication and preparation, you and your kids’ move-in could turn from stressful to exciting. The infographic below goes into more detail on how to improve the moving process.