Moving to a new home with children requires an almost unfathomable amount of effort. Time, work, the anxious uncertainty that comes with drastic transition. Children, being as intuitive as they are, pick up on these stresses, and tend to emulate them.
I say this having moved 13 times in the same town growing up. But there are ways to make the transition to a new home easier for your child. And, oddly enough, some of the best advice comes from moving companies.
- Dialogue – Start early and keep it active. But do it in a conversational manner, during play or when things are light. Mention details you think they’ll absorb, and keep them involved in the process as much as possible.
- Empathy – Crucial stuff here. Your child’s concerns about the move are not trivial. Depending on their age, they can miss everything from the color of their bedroom walls to their seeming best friend next door. Listen, understand, and let them know their concerns are important.
- Packing the Treasure Box – Okay, you don’t have to call it a treasure box. But before moving your child should hand-pick their favorite/most important items and pack them into a special container just for them. A great way to keep them involved in the process.
- Maintaining Routines – Sure, they’re going to get a bit jumbled during preparations, but work at keeping your child’s routines normal. Take them to their swimming lessons, their morning runs at the park. More importantly, work quickly to re-establish these routines at your new home too.
- Saying Goodbye – A tough one for adults too. Make plenty of time to say goodbye to everyone. Visit friends, neighbors. Encourage your child to maintain contact too. Emails, Skype, even old fashion hand-written letters.
In actuality, there probably isn’t any easy solution. Kids are resilient, but that doesn’t mean a period of adjustment isn’t required. Patience, empathy, and observing your child’s anxiety levels is.
For more detailed advice on moving with children, check out PBS KIDS.
Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
Harry Tournemille is moving soon and does not want his daughter to be as stressed as he is.