Is a move in your family’s future?
If the answer is yes, you’re probably feeling (or going to feel) some combination of excitement, uncertainty, and curiosity leading up to the big day.
Moving can be a wholly different experience for little ones though. They may not understand what’s happening, or feel like they have no say in a situation that impacts them greatly.
But moving with children happens all the time. In fact, in a recent survey, 69% of families reported having moved to a new home at least once during their children’s lifetime. The key to making it a smooth transition is understanding their concerns, and always having an answer or solution.
So, whether you’re moving near or far, keep these questions (straight from a kid’s perspective) in mind to help make moving with children a less stressful experience for everyone.
1. What will our new house be like?
Kids have a way of cutting right to the chase, so don’t be surprised if this is the first question you hear once they find out about the move.
Depending on how far you’re moving, try to plan an exciting day of activities around visiting the new house or around looking at photos of it together. Either way, seeing the place in person (and associating it with a fun day) can help children better understand and accept what’s going on.
2. Will I have to change schools?
When moving with children, this question is a big one. If the answer is yes, there are ways to help make your child’s transfer less stressful.
Avoid any complications by gathering all information needed by the new school before the move. This could include a most recent report card, transcript, birth certificate, medical records, etc.
Then if possible, set up time for your children to visit their new school ahead of time. Having an idea of what to expect and where to go will mean less to worry about when they arrive (they’ll be focused on fitting in and making friends anyway).
3. But what about my friends?
As a parent, you know your child will make friends wherever you move. As a child though, the thought of leaving current friends behind can be devastating. Fortunately, there are ways to show your child that moving (even a great distance) doesn’t have to mean ending existing friendships.
When kids move, throw a “See You Soon” party for your children and their friends to exchange contact information and take plenty of photos. Having these memories, and knowing that they’ll be able to maintain their friendships, will be a source of comfort during and after the move.
4. What if I don’t like my room?
Your kid’s room is their hang-out spot, safe-haven, and escape — in other words, a part of them. Help your children transition smoothly from their old room to a new one by getting them involved in the planning process.
Show them the floorplan of their new room, and then get their input on paint colors, room decorations, and how to arrange their furniture and toys. Letting them decide (or at least influence) these things can help them feel a sense of control and excitement in such a time of change. Then when the big day finally comes, unpack your child’s room first so they’ll start feeling at home right away.
5. What about my toys?
Whether it’s a blanket, a stuffed animal, an action figure, or something else entirely, most children have a favorite toy (or ten). And when it comes time to move, these toys can be a serious source of comfort.
The night before moving day, help each child pack a special bag filled with his or her most coveted toys and items (and maybe even a few surprises). Not only will this prevent anything major from being left behind, having these bags by your their side will help them feel more comfortable and relaxed throughout moving day.
6. What if our new town isn’t fun?
A move for kids means a lot of unknowns, especially if you’re moving to an entirely different area. But no matter how many times you promise they’ll like their new town or city, showing them is even more convincing. Here’s what you can do:
- Create a map of your new area to show them where parks, libraries, pools, and other places of interest are in their new town. If your child is part of a local sports team or organization, set aside time to help them sign up for the same (or similar) activities in their new community, too.
Though the thought of moving with children can seem daunting, keeping these questions in mind can help you prepare for their biggest concerns. Plus, by keeping them comfortable and at ease, you’ll be able to focus on these important to-dos before, during, and after your move.