Moving is stressful for children and the change can be overwhelming. However, there are ways to make it easier on them.
It’s important to inform your kids about the plan to move as soon as you can. The more preparation time they have, the easier it will be for them, say child psychologists.
Moving is a family process so share the excitement and responsibilities with every member of the family. Give each person an age-appropriate task. Younger kids will enjoy decorating their moving boxes, and when you are in your new home, it will be easier for them to find their stuff. If kids feel included and take ownership of the decision to move, the transition will go much easier.
Throughout the move, stay as upbeat and calm as possible. Give your children a chance to express their feelings and try to be honest about your own feelings. Most children will feel some anger, sadness or worry about the move. Reassure them they aren’t alone and that it’s okay to have those feelings.
Involve your kids in the packing process and start packing items you will not need ahead of time. Sentimental items your children treasure like special blankets, beloved stuffed animals and photo albums should be kept in a separate bag or box that they can keep close. On moving day, your children can take that bag or box in the car with them to your new home.
Plan a date to tour your new neighbourhood with your family. If it’s not a long distance, ride your bikes and scope out your children’s favourite activities, favourite restaurants, playgrounds and sports fields.
Check with the local Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or your local place of worship to determine if there is a Welcome Wagon program. Arrange a tour of their new school and meet the teacher ahead of moving day.
Make sure children say goodbye to the important people in their lives. Help them prepare a list of phone numbers, emails and addresses of their friends to keep in touch. Prepare cards that have their new address on them to hand out to friends. Try to schedule a few last play dates before your move day.
Child psychology experts agree that if kids are given time to prepare, are involved in the process, and know they can stay in touch with friends and loved ones, moving doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience.