How to Prepare Your Children for a Move: A Guide on How to Settle In
When moving from one home to another, kids will feel uprooted. You might think you’ve prepared them for the move, but children don’t fully understand it until they experience it firsthand. About 10 % of children aged 1 to 14 move yearly, and at least one-third of such a group must switch schools. So, the best way to make the transition as smooth as possible is by helping your children prepare for this change well before the actual move. Through open communication and thoughtful preparation, you can ease their worries and have them excited about their new home before they unpack their first box.
Moving with kids involves several steps – starting with the early preparation stages and ending when everything is settled and back to normal again. Even though you may feel that you cannot plan everything with your busy schedule, using these tips will ensure that your kids are ready for this drastic change.
Discuss the Move as Early as Possible
The earlier you start talking to your children about the upcoming move, the easier the transition will be. Let them know that you will move to a different place although they love their current neighborhood, school, and friends. Explain that although it will be sad to leave the old neighborhood, it’s exciting to move to a new house with new surroundings and new friends. Jamie Howard says It’s much easier to handle a stressor if you are prepared than to be shocked and unprepared”. Talking to your children about what the move will be like will help them be comfortable, be prepared and visualize the move positively. More importantly, they even get excited about the new experience in the new place.
When you discuss the move, don’t focus on the negatives. Instead, focus on the positives – like the excitement of seeing their new school, making new friends, and exploring a new neighborhood. Likewise, avoid focusing on the negatives of your move, like having to leave their friends behind or having to change schools.
Let your kids help with the decision.
Kids are smart, and they’ll pick up on your emotions. If you don’t let them in on the decision-making process, they’ll get the impression that you don’t want their opinion. So instead, ask them their opinion on where you should move, what you should look for in a new house, and how they’d like their new room to be designed. This lets them feel like they have a say in the move and gives them something concrete to do. Then, once they’ve come up with helpful suggestions, you can use them to narrow down choices.
Help them pack and label their belongings.
Kids love to help with the packing, but adults often don’t let them near the cardboard boxes. This will give kids a sense of accomplishment and help them realize that the move isn’t just an abstract concept – it’s something they can actively prepare for. They can pack their favorite toys, books, clothes, and anything else they want to bring to their new home. For items that don’t get packed, such as large appliances, let your kids write their names on the box to feel like they have a stake in the move. This will help them feel like they’re a part of the process and that this change isn’t just happening to them. It will also help easy identification each item in the box.
Plan a small farewell party for their friends
Since the kids are going to be saying goodbye to all of their friends, you could schedule a small farewell party for their friends with a few friends that they would like to have over. Let them choose the activities and decide where to have the party. This will give them a chance to show off their house and backyard to their friends and make sure their friends remember them fondly. It will also give the kids a chance to make their goodbyes official. They can say their emotional goodbyes, take any necessary photos, and give each other (and you) their contact information to stay in touch after the move.
Talk about the benefits of the move.
Kids often focus on what they are losing but may not fully appreciate what they are gaining. Let them know that you chose to move for their benefit. For example, you may ask them if they’ve ever wished they could have more space or have their room. Fabricate a story that explains how their new house has more space and oversized bedrooms, where they can do whatever they want with their own space. You can also remind them that they’ll have a new neighborhood to explore and new kids to meet. This will help them look forward to the move rather than dread it.
Moving with kids can be challenging and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. By preparing them in advance and creating a positive atmosphere, you can help your children get through the transition of a move. Remember to be flexible throughout the process and keep an open line of communication with your children. They will appreciate your effort, and you will be glad that you made a move as painless as possible for everyone.
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