Moving, though a stressful time for adults, is also a complicated process for children. Our adorable young ones, who can make us laugh without effort, can be easily upset with the prospect of uprooting their current lives and leaving their friends.
Fortunately, kids are always up for an adventure, and moving is a process that can be likened to one of their favorite adventure tales! Moving is also an amazing opportunity for growth and exploration. Read on for our comprehensive guide to preparing for and moving with your kids.
How do I prepare my child for moving?
Prepare your child emotionally
Make sure you are speaking positively about your move from the get-go. Children are incredibly receptive to emotional cues, so ensure your tone of voice is positive when speaking about your relocation.
Acknowledge the downsides and the negatives aspects of the process, but don’t focus on it too much. Instead, tell them about all of the exciting new places they will get to explore, the new friends they will meet, and the positives to look forward to.
TIP: When your movers are loading the truck, ask them to leave your child’s room to be loaded in last. This means that when you unload the truck at your new home, their room will be unloaded first. Your child will feel important and be excited to settle into their new room!
Their own essential box
Prepare a box for your child to put all of their prized possessions in to be delivered to the new home. Explain that whatever they decide to take with them will have to fit in that box. Make sure to be available to help with the difficult choices!
Knowing that their favorite belongings are moving with them will make them feel secure and more at ease.
Fill their backpacks with books, paper and crayons, small toys, and anything else that they might enjoy. This will keep them busy during the move, by making the process more fun and enjoyable.
TIP: Show your child pictures of the new house you will be moving into and of places nearby they will be able to visit, such as parks, playgrounds, and pizza parlors. Make plans to explore all of them! Use Google Maps (Street View) to help make your new home and neighborhood come to life in their minds.
Make them part of the move
Stir your child’s imagination by suggesting the upstairs hallway and the pathways to the front door are the movers’ runway and they are in charge of keeping it clear. This will make them feel important and like they are in control…almost as if without them the move wouldn’t be possible!
If you are worried that they might be in the way, you may choose to keep them occupied in their room with toys or books. That is, after all, the place where they will feel most secure and comfortable as the movers clear out the house.
TIP: If possible, get some help! Invite grandma over to spend some quality time with your child or organize a play date at one of their friend’s homes. Or, hire a babysitter and let them take care of your child while you complete the move.
Keep their tummy happy
Come moving day, your fridge will be empty and defrosted. Plan ahead to have plenty of snack and drink options available to keep their tummies happy!
When going to the supermarket before the move, keep in mind that you won’t have the time nor the space to make lunch or dinner. Choose items that require minimal preparation – cereal, yogurt, fruit, veggies, sandwiches, and don’t forget cookies! If this becomes too stressful to prepare, you can always order pizza!
Consider bringing your child’s favorite cereal bowl, dinner plate, and cup in the car to add a sense of comfort and continuity.
TIP: Use the moving experience as a learning opportunity for your children. Tell them about what goes into planning a move, give them real-life lessons about certain steps required to buy or sell a house, or explain potential career opportunities in real estate.
How does moving affect a child?
Check-in with your child often
Just because your child is not vocalizing their concerns or telling you what is bothering them, it doesn’t mean everything is cool in their world. Making your child feel like they truly are at home should be priority number one. Get them to help with the setup of furniture, ask them where the TV should go, how to decorate their room, etc.
Don’t start unpacking right away. Instead, go for a walk together and explore the new neighborhood. See if any of the neighbors are around for playtime. Go to the nearest park or playground. And of course, make a visit to the local ice-cream shop!