Moving with Children
Be open with your kids about the moving process. Kids need complete, honest, simple explanations of new changes.
Explain why you're moving, where you're going, where they'll go to school, and how long before the move will occur. Without this information, children might create their own version of the circumstances. Keeping them informed will make them more understanding of this overwhelming disruption in their lives. Although you may not always have all the answers, investigate all your children's questions—and follow up. Reassure them that you will be there to help them face new challenges.
Encourage your children to voice their worries or concerns. Avoid belittling the importance of their questions. While you may not understand why your kids need to know where the dog will sleep in your new home, your children should receive careful, sincere answers to all their questions.
Don’t take it personally if your child has trouble adjusting to the move and blames you for causing it. Explain that parents must make such big decisions for the good of the family.
Focus on the positives: a new home, neighborhood, school and community. It may take some time for your kids to let go of their attachment to the old place.
Allow your kids, especially teenagers, to grieve leaving friends and their favorite places. Encourage keeping in touch with friends
Infants and Preschoolers
Moving will be relatively easy for infants and toddlers, who are attached more to caregivers than to places. But children ages 2 to 6 really like following a predictable life and routine. These tips will help ease their transition:
- Minimize changes to the child's routine or the addition of new expectations, like toilet training, weaning, eating new foods, and such until the child is settled in the new environment.
- Prepare for the move by using fantasy play with your child to act out the moving process with toys/stories.
- Expect some regressive behaviors, like thumb-sucking, sleep disturbances or bed-wetting to appear before, during or after the move. These will come and go as your child adjusts to their new home.
- Encourage your child to pack some of his or her favorite things themselves. Be sure this box travels with the family, not in the moving van, so it arrives with them at their new home.
School-age kids, particularly adolescents, are often very attached to their friends and own lifestyles. A major change, like moving, threatens their feelings of control and independence and can trigger strong emotions, and occasionally even behavioral problems..
Talking about uncomfortable feelings can help your child handle them and make the transition easier. Older children are capable of assuming a responsible role in the moving process, which helps them feel more in control and supportive.
Involve your children in decision-making. Ask for ideas, opinions and suggestions—make sure to do so only when the child truly can have a say. Even things as simple as deciding how to arrange the furniture in their new bedrooms will help your children feel less overwhelmed by all the changes taking place
Don't send them to stay with family. You may be tempted to send the kids to Grandma's or another caring relative during the stressful packing and moving process. Though it may seem like a great solution, it won't make the process easier for them.
Rather, include them in the excitement of decorating and arranging their new rooms. Arrange children's rooms first—they'll feel more secure if surrounded by familiar things.
As soon as you know you'll be moving, tell your children about the new community. What recreational opportunities exist? If your kids are interested in sports, tell them about the Little League or soccer program. Look into opportunities to continue their music, dance or swimming lessons.
- Use any contacts you have in the new community through employment, real estate agents, professional organizations and churches to gather information useful to your child.
- Make contact with club or sports-related organizations to encourage those interests in your family's new community.
If you can't take your children to the new town or home before you move, be sure to bring home photos for them. You may even be able to find library books describing the history of your new town, state or region and the points of interest. This will help them become more enthusiastic about the move and less fearful of the unknown.
Ask your children about the favorite things in their lives—the big backyard, the smell of brownies in the oven after school, taking the dog to the park—and discuss ways to duplicate those things in your new home.
Finally, Try to time your move to coincide with the beginning of a new school year or term. Making new friends is easier when a new session is just starting.
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