Moving is a complicated process, but it can be especially difficult for children. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have lived in a variety of different places. However, for your children, the house and neighborhood you are now moving away from might be the only home they have ever known. How to move with kids is a common challenge for many homeowners.
For most, a childhood home represents family, familiarity and a lot of firsts, like the place you made your first friend. It has the park where you learned to ride a bike. You can probably still remember the streets you took to school. Moving away from these familiar things could be particularly stressful for your child.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed—don’t! In 13 years as a REALTOR®, I’ve helped dozens of young families find their dream home, and, as a result, I have gotten a firsthand look at steps many parents have taken to calm their little ones’ nerves. With summer moving season fast approaching, I wanted to share what I’ve seen with you for you know how to move with kids as seamlessly as possible.
1. Communicate Your Move
Children may like surprise parties or a surprise trip to the zoo, but they will not enjoy a surprise move. After you decide to move, one of the first things you should do is call a family meeting, order your favorite takeout and break the news. Explain to your children why you are moving and how you feel about the move, and encourage them to express themselves.
2. Make Room Plans
Instead of just telling your children that they will be moving, ease their concerns by showing them pictures of their new room and the house. They might get excited to learn they no longer have to share a bedroom or get to pick the color of their next room. Children can be a lot more receptive to moving if they feel included in the process, and they will likely be especially receptive to making plans for their new bedroom.
3. Make a Map
Children like to visualize things, and you can help them picture their new surroundings by making a map of their new home. Use a traditional map or make an online map showing their new home. Be sure to circle points of interest like your child’s new school, parks and playgrounds, and fun places to visit. This is a great way to positively engage your children about the move and help them learn about their new neighborhood. Don’t forget to play tour guide and take your children around to visit all the places on the map once you arrive.
4. Research and Visit Schools
Starting at a new school, one with new teachers and unfamiliar faces, can be especially hard on children. Research the new school and its surroundings to help ease your children’s nerves. You might even be able to arrange a visit to the school so that your children can meet teachers and their new classmates before they officially start.
5. Get Your Children Involved
Keeping your children involved in the moving process is important, because it establishes that your children are a big part of the family and that their voice is important. Make your children part of the moving process by letting them pack some of their own things. Have your children pick one or two toys and games to take on the airplane or car ride to the new home. This can also be a good time to have your children pick the toys and keepsakes they want to keep the most and donate the ones they no longer are interested in.
6. “See You Soon” Party
One of the toughest things about moving is saying good-bye to the friends and family you will leave behind. You want to make sure your children know that good-bye doesn’t mean forever, and their friends will still be their friends. Have friends and family over for a party for your child, but instead of making it a “Good-bye Party,” make it a “See You Soon Party.” Keep a book out so that friends and family can exchange email and phone numbers, and take lots of pictures. Helping your child maintain old relationships can help them as they adjust to their new surroundings.