Moving is a bittersweet event. There’s excitement and anticipation of living in a new house, but also built up stress with the packing and moving. The situation gets quite complicated when children are involved. Often, children detest moving. They’re leaving behind familiar faces for a strange place — something that could be very hard for them to handle.
Kids, depending on the age especially, react differently. It is the parent’s job to help them get through with the excitement and/or the pain of moving.
Here are some helpful tips you can use to help children (of any age) cope. At the same time, help lessen your own stress.
Tell your kids!
Be honest and communicate with your children about moving. If you can, discuss it with them before a final decision. It doesn’t hurt to hear their opinions and show that you’re considering their input. Of course, most of the time, kids would probably struggle to understand the need for the move. As much as possible, explain it patiently. And remember, don’t surprise them at all. If they come home from school and find out that they’d be leaving school the very next day, of course there might be quite an unpleasant reaction. Moving is a hard transition; and your kids would need all the preparation they can get.
Don’t sugar-coat it!
So your move is in place. Your kids have either accepted it or still detest the idea. Either way, you’re moving. Don’t sugar-coat or hype the move. It might build up wrong expectations. The least you want is for your kids to be disappointed. Worst, blame you. Let them know how and what to expect with the new town, neighbourhood, etc. Even if some aspects can be quite disappointing for your kids — e.g., no shopping malls nearby or it’s a crowded city unlike the quiet rural life they’re used to. Whatever it is, tell them what to expect. Prepare them without the hype.
Get them involved!
A stressful and exhausting phase during a move is the packing. Get your kids involved during this time, even if you might think it’s more of a hassle (since you need to supervise them). Still, make them a part of this process. You can ask them to label their own boxes; or pack their own clothes. Once you’ve moved, let them unpack on their own, or decorate their own room. By being involved, your kids might find it easier to adjust to their new surroundings.
Make them feel at home, as soon as possible!
You’ve got lots of furniture and items to bring to your new place. Don’t overwhelm yourself; put some of your possessions in a storage facility for safekeeping, for example. This way, you’re opening yourself up to a more convenient move. However, keep in mind that you’re bringing your kids to a brand new atmosphere. Aim to at least make the new house feel like “old” home. Ensure that you’ve got the essentials you need for your family to have a sense of normalcy, even if everywhere is still unfamiliar. Still, take your time to put all your possessions in place. If you try and rush to unpack everything at once, it might create an even bigger mess and stress for you. Unpack first the items your family needs for their daily routine. This way, your kids will easily feel at home quickly.
A child is an important factor when parents consider moving. If your child struggles to adjust to new surroundings, the stress for parents is doubled. Extreme patience and understanding are important to help your child cope with moving issues. After all, the main goal is to transform your new house into your family’s “Home Sweet Home”.