Moving can be an exciting experience. But, unfortunately, it can also be one of the most stressful moments of your life.
Kids view moving to a new home differently than adults. Where you might be looking forward to a new job, more space, or a better neighborhood, they see lost friends, room abandonment, and uncertainty.
Although you can’t solve every potential problem, there are ways you can make moving easier on your family. Here are a few ideas for you to try.
1. Be Honest
Even if moving isn’t a certainty, kids should be involved in your conversations. They’ll pick up on what you’re saying or doing anyway. It’s better to give them facts to work with instead of allowing their imaginations to spiral into negative fantasies that become worse than the real thing.
2. Plan Meetings
Preschool children and younger have a different sense of time than older kids. If you tell them too early about when you’re planning to move, the conversation might cause more angst than necessary.
Teens should be involved with every potential conversation to ensure they feel included with the family business. Kids in elementary, intermediate, and middle school are on a need-to-know basis based on their maturity.
If you’re unsure when to start, you’ll want to have some conversations when visible signs of a move start appearing.
3. Emphasize Family Stability
In today’s environment, kids often see moving in uncertain terms. That’s why each conversation or interaction should emphasize that your family is sticking together. Even though the home might be changing, you’ll still have each other.
Some families must plan moves because separation or divorce decisions are part of the process. If you’re in that situation, try to highlight that both parents will be available. Practice the new routine, practice your plans, and try to set aside visible differences between each other to focus on the kids.
4. Embrace the Emotion
Kids prefer to live in a predictable routine. They don’t like to experience changes unless they’re the author of them. When it’s time to move, try to be empathetic instead of dismissing their concerns, sadness, or anger.
It might be tempting to sweep their feelings under the rug or tell them to “rub some dirt in it” and move on, but what kids need help with during these circumstances is a way to adjust to new routines.
That’s why it is often helpful to keep transitional items available during the entire moving process. For example, having some favorite toys, trinkets, books, or similar items can help them realize that these things will be in their new home.
5. Show Off the Place
Whenever possible, try to visit the area where you’re moving so that your family sees what to expect. It helps to map out the route to school, talk about the bus schedule, and tour the neighborhood.
If you can show off pictures of the new home, let your family see the space. Showing them the bedrooms and other living spaces will ease the tension created by an anxious imagination.
During the transition phase, try to let the kids pick out the colors for their new room. Then, you could arrange a school tour, let them pick a restaurant to try, or get involved with other activities that everyone enjoys.
6. Keep the Memories
Let your kids start a memory box that helps them remember all the best things from your previous home. It could be pictures, drawings, gifts from friends – whatever they want is also safe to keep. Teens often derive their identities from their friends, so it might be fun to throw one final party where everyone can stick together.
It’s not easy to say goodbye to anyone, but the transition gets a bit easier when you’ve got plans to stay in touch.
You can also start scrapbooks, photo albums or order collectibles with different images that keep the memories close while moving to the new home.
Final Step: Get a Sitter
It doesn’t matter how organized your move is in the days leading up to the big moment. Something unexpected almost always happens. For example, someone forgot to pack a treasured item, the moving truck is late, or the weather takes a turn for the worst. That’s why a sitter is often helpful, especially for young families.
At Expo Movers, we work hard to take the stress out of moving. Whether you need help with transportation logistics or need A-to-Z assistance throughout the entire process, we’re there to offer a helping hand when you need it.
Moving can be stressful, but implementing these ideas can take the edge off the anxiety.