Moving takes preparation and planning, especially when children are added to the equation. In order to relieve some of the stress on the big day, you need to prepare your kids before, during and after the move by getting them involved in the moving process. Here are some tips to help you and your family make a smooth move into your new home.
Family Meeting – Kids, whether toddlers and teens, need to process the news of a move just as much as you had to think it over. Children need to understand that they will be in a new environment, meet new friends, live in a new house, and go to a new school. It’s critical to have a family meeting where you can sit your kids down and have a conversation about moving and what will be happening. Give your kids the news of moving about a month in advance. This will give them time to process the information and ask questions. When having this conversation, make sure to focus on things that will remain the same to ease their mind about the move rather than throwing down all the different things that will be changing. Giving them a month notice will also allow children the opportunity to spend time with friends. They can take this time to say goodbye and figure out ways to keep in touch with one another.
Structured Schedule and Routine – Children don’t respond well to a lot of change in their environment. They like consistency, structured routines, and knowing what comes next. Involve your kids further in the moving process by collaboratively creating a moving day schedule so they know what to expect on the day of. Let the children know exactly what will be happening throughout the move day and what they will be expected to do around the house during the process. For example:
Assign Leader Roles – Make the kids feel like they are an important part of the moving process by assigning them a specific, age-appropriate role and tell them they are the “Leader” of that assignment such as “Box-Taping Leader” or “Vacuum Leader”. This makes children feel essential and included. You can also make games out of small tasks and award winners like fastest packer. Involving your kids in this way can avoid them feeling ignored and getting temperamental and keep them from playing or running around as movers are carrying heavy boxes. It is also a good idea to pack a moving day box or bag for babies and toddlers to keep their small personal items close to them. Having their favorite things with them, separate from the bigger moving boxes, will comfort them when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Explore – After a long day of moving, you can finally take the time to relax with your kids. Go out and explore the neighborhood, find the nearest park where you can meet other kids to play with, or drive by the new school your child will be attending. Becoming familiar with the area and the community by taking a stroll or driving around can put your children at ease about the move and their new life. Be positive and optimistic about the house and neighborhood, so that the kids feel your energy and excitement along with you.
If you’re a parent with children, whether it’s a newborn baby, toddlers, or teenagers, moving doesn’t have to be overwhelming for you and your family given the right preparations. Taking the time to talk with your kids and helping them understand, as well as involving them each step of the way into the new house can make moving a memorable day for the whole family. Take these tips along with a deep breath and have a relaxing move.