Whether you’re relocating across countries and continents, or within your current city limits, doing so with children complicates the process. A move can be stressful even if everyone’s excited about it. When they’re not excited, the experience can become an ordeal. While adults tend to stiff-upper-lip their stress, kids are more vulnerable and transparent. Here are suggestions for helping your family’s smallest members have a happy move.
Share Your Adult Feelings
Kids make great radar dishes. Many can sense adults’ feelings without knowing much about what’s happening, so make time to sit and talk with your kids about how you feel about moving. Honesty and a sense of humor will go a long way. It helps kids to know the adults also are affected by an impending move.
Spend Extra Time Together
Particularly before your family moves. As providers and busy people, many parents are overbooked with daily obligations. Carve out some extra hours to build backyard forts, play basketball or attend imaginary tea parties. Or, supervise your children as they bake cookies. Extra attention now gives kids a security boost once adults are deep into packing madness.
Address Their Anxieties
If adults can voice fears, explanations and excitement about the family’s upcoming move, so can the kids! Allow them to talk about their feelings, whether funny, scary or indifferent. Be prepared for negative emotions. Pouting and crying may surface, but also are an opportunity to communicate and connect — as long as timeout corners aren’t needed!
Give Them A Sneak Peek of New Neighborhood
If your new home is within driving distance, take a family trip and visit schools, grocery stores, dog parks, places of worship, daycare and shopping areas. Stop by your new home even if it’s under construction. Try to meet new neighbors. None of this is possible if you’re 1,000 miles away from your new town, but you can browse digitally. A good place to start is to ask your real estate agent to send photos.
Let Them Personalize Moving Boxes
Parental bonus points: Allow your kids to decorate the moving boxes filled with their belongings. Having individualized boxes, rather than a tower of bland cardboard labeled in black magic marker, allows kids to feel special. It also helps them maintain a physical connection to their items during a hectic time.
Help Them Say Goodbye
This can be a whole-family experience. Before you leave your old home, go room-to-room and say farewell to the stone fireplace, the back porch that leaked during thunderstorms, or a favorite closet for hide-and-seek. Take photos and share on social media sites. Documenting the process helps kids take a “piece” of their old home to their new one.
Give Them Time to Adjust
Following familiar routines is a near-impossibility when settling into a new home. But, get the youngsters unpacked and surrounded by familiar things as soon as possible. Then, let them help adults unpack. Once moving boxes have been recycled, take walks in the new neighborhood, visit new playgrounds or schedule play dates with new schoolmates and neighbors. Continue to encourage kids to talk about how they feel.
Ready to find your family’s new home? ICI Homes is ready to help. Start here.