How to Move with Kids
Moving to a new city or state can be overwhelming for adults, but moving for kids can be especially difficult. They have to watch their whole world get packed into boxes while saying goodbye to friends, teachers, and their home. After the move, they will begin to worry about making new friends and fitting in at their new school.
While moving might be inevitable for your family, the process doesn’t have to be negative. By staying prepared and being open to conversations, you can be the stable support your child needs to cope with the change of moving. Here are some tips for making sure that your kids transition smoothly to the new house.
Talk to your kids about the move
While preparing your child for the move, it’s important that you let them know that they are free to talk to you about the move. One important question you can continuously ask your child throughout the process is, “What can I do to help?”. You are allowing them to be heard and acknowledging their experience during the move.
When breaking the news, sit the whole family down early on in the decision process. You don’t want them to have to overhear it from somebody else, causing them to feel uncomfortable. Once the whole family is seated at a table or couch, be open with them about the move. Kids respond to honest and want to be treated as adults. If you are open about the move, there is less for them to worry about.
Make it realistic for your kids
Kids, especially elementary and younger, might have trouble fully understanding the concept of a move. We, as adults, sometimes forget that kids need more explanations to feel prepared. Without an appropriate explanation, kids will be left with a lot of unknown questions, and they will come to their own conclusions, which will most likely be negative and anxious inducing. Limit the unknown by giving them as much information as possible.
What do they have to look forward to?
- Home with a bigger backyard
- New school
- Cool places: museums, landmarks, etc.
- Closer to family
If your child has something to look forward to in the move, they will be excited and put up less of a fight through the process.
Don’t pack your child’s favorite toy
While packing away each room and stuffing items into boxes, it is easy to get carried away. You might start throwing everything on the floor in a bin without stopping to consider the significance of those toys. What might look like progress (a packed room or a clean floor) might backfire into an uncontrollable fit.
Your child is freaking out over the loss of their favorite toy that is stuffed at the bottom of the bin and already packed onto the moving truck. At this point, your child is anxious, and you’re stretched thin.
Choose a different approach to packing your child’s room. Take the time to leave out toys and items that you know has value to your child. Even invite them into this process and have them pick out two to three items. By doing this, you are letting them hold onto their current life as long as possible. These toys are what brings them comfort and joy. Leave them out until the last second to help the packing process go smoothly.
Show them pictures
A great way to decrease the anxiety your child might be feeling about the move is by creating a scrapbook for them full of pictures of your new home or town. This will give them something positive to visualize and replace any bad images they may have made up.
Consider printing photos of your new home, the child’s new school, and any cool sights in the area. With these visuals, the new home feels real and less like an unknown. Think of it this way, you’ve most likely already seen the new area and the new house, and that was important to you. You wanted to know where you were moving to was a good place. Give your child that same peace of mind with these pictures.
Extra points if you can take the pictures yourself on your phone or camera. Your kids will make the connection that you have been there, and beginning to feel more at ease.
Give your children all the information
Whether you have young kids or high schoolers, nobody likes being left out of the loop. That is why it is important that you give your child as much information as possible about the move. Some great pieces of information to share are:
- The name of the new school
- The reason you’re moving
- Where the new house is
- The name of the new neighborhood, city, and state
With this information, your child can now talk to their friends about the move and share important details about it. This gives them a sense of control over an otherwise out of control situation. Plus, this is some great safety information you will want them to know.
Find fun activities
This tip is directly related to moving day. Moving with kids running around the house can be daunting and add stress to an already stressful day. To help this day run smoothly, see if your child can go to a friend or family’s house while you finish up that last bit of packing.
If your kids are going to be home, here are some activities that can help keep kids of all ages entertained.
- Preschool: One bin of toys left until the end
- Elementary: Build structures with marshmallows and toothpicks; play with bubble wrap
Your older or more responsible kids can help you with the packing, so try to give them an area where they are responsible for the packing, such as their bedroom or playroom. By giving them some responsibility, you are letting them be a part of the process.
Kids take cues from the adults in their life. Your kids will pick up on your moods. If you are stressed, they will become stressed. With moving day being chaotic, it is easy for kids to fall into a negative mood during a day that is already hard to handle.
An easy way to change the mood is by singing or humming a familiar tune; you will be surprised by how quickly your kid will pick up on your mood. Ask for help if you need it. Talk to your kids about how you will need their help to make this move successful. Most kids will enjoy being confided in.
With these tips, you’ll survive the moving process even with kids running about.