Prepare Your Kids for Your Big Move
Moving to a new home is an exciting prospect as you find a house you love and start to envision all the great memories you will get to make there. Unfortunately, it can be a very stressful time as well–not just for you, but also for your kids. Children are often unable to comprehend the process of moving, and they may focus only on the idea of leaving behind their home, their friends, or their school. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to help make the move easier on your kids and get them excited about their potential new home.
- Be Honest with Your Kids – You may think that it’s in your child’s best interest for you not to discuss the move until things are finalized, but kids are masters at knowing when there’s something you aren’t telling them. It will be better for you to explain the possibility of moving when your plans are in their early stages rather than waiting until you’ve already found someplace new and blindsiding your youngster. Encourage feedback, especially if your children are older. While there may be nothing you can do to prevent the move, you can at least find out their initial reactions and see if there’s anything you can do to make the transition easier.
- Keep Kids in the Loop – You shouldn’t plan on taking young children along on all your house hunting excursions, but you should take the opinions of your kids into consideration once you’ve narrowed down your home choices to just a few options. Bring them to visit your favorite houses and see how they feel. Show them their prospective bedrooms and try to explain how you will want to layout the furniture. Not only will this help your children feel like they are informed, but it will also make your new house start to feel like “home” much more quickly.
- Let Them Mourn – Maybe “mourn” is a strong word, but there’s a good chance your kids will have an adjustment period as they get used to the idea of leaving behind your current house. If you have been in one place for many years, it could be the only home your children have ever known, so it’s understandable why they might be upset about leaving. If you are moving out of state or even just to a new city, they will likely be more upset than if you are just moving down the block. Just try your best to be as positive as possible about your new house during this process, and know that they will eventually start to get used to the idea of moving.
- Take the Time to Say Goodbye – Have a going-away party and have your kids invite all their friends. Often, simply being able to say goodbye will help your little ones get over the pain of leaving their old life behind. You should also take the time to commemorate and “say goodbye” to your old house. Take pictures of all your rooms before you start to pack. Looking back on these photos and trying to make the new house feel as “homey” as possible can be a great way for kids to adapt after a move.
- Get to Know Your New Hometown – Leaving a house often also means leaving behind the traditions and rituals that your children have gotten used to over the years. You should take the time either before or immediately after you move to explore your new hometown and start to adapt your traditions. For instance, if you always go to the park on Saturday mornings, you should find a great park in your new town and carry on the ritual. Also try to facilitate opportunities for your kids to make new friends as quickly as possible. Arrange for your children to pick up their favorite activities–from sports to dance classes–within just a few weeks after your move. By making your kids feel involved in their new hometown, you will help them focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past.