Sooner or later in life, many families have to move. It can be a big adjustment for everyone, especially kids. Often, kids feel left out of the decision to move and don’t really understand why it is happening.
As a parent, you want to do anything you can to make the transition as smooth as possible but where should you start? Consider these suggestions to make things easier on everyone.
Maintain a positive attitude
No matter what, always try to stay positive during the transition, kids often look to their parents for reassurance that everything will be ok and they will reflect your emotions.
Discuss the situation with them
The most important thing you can do is to prepare them for what is going to happen.
- Order pizza and have the family all sit around the table together.
- Explain the reasons behind the need to move, and give them as much information as possible.
- Give them an idea of what the new location might be like.
- Answer all of their questions fully and truthfully, and be open to any positive or negative reactions they have.
Keep them involved
By welcoming their participation into the planning process you actually get them to “buy-in” to the idea of moving.
- Have them help you out while you are house hunting or even have them help you select their new school.
- Go out together and spend the day exploring the new neighborhood.
- Something as simple as having them pick out the paint color in their room can have a big impact as well.
For young kids (Pre-school ages)
Kids under 6 may be the easiest to move, but you should still treat them with care.
- As you pack their things, explain that you are not throwing them away.
- Keep your child’s old bedroom furniture and use that in the new house, this should provide a sense of familiarity and comfort.
- Consider arranging furniture in a similar way (at least in their bedroom).
- Try not to make any other big changes during the move, like potty training or going from a crib to a bed.
- Have them stay with a babysitter or relative on moving day(s) as this can be very stressful for them to watch.
For older kids (School ages to pre-teen)
Kids in this age group may still be relatively open to a move.
- Help them create new friendships (Sign them up for a sport or after-school activity).
- Help them keep their old friends (Facetime or Skype can be very helpful).
- Introduce yourself to new teachers and principals, have them help keep you updated on their transition.
Teens are usually the hardest age group to smoothly transition. It is also common for them to actively rebel during this time. It’s very important to let teens know that you want to hear their concerns and that you respect them.
- Consider planning a visit back to the old neighborhood for them (have them stay with an old friend).
- See if they could possibly return for events like prom or homecoming.
- If you find yourself moving midway through a school year, and if it wouldn’t be too disruptive for the rest of the family, you might even consider allowing a responsible and mature teen to stay behind with a friend or relative.
Moving can present many challenges, but good things can also come from change. Your family might grow closer throughout the process and you may learn more about each other by transitioning through it together.