Moving is hard enough as it is, but when you have kids it makes it seem even harder. Transitioning may be tough on some kids especially if they have only lived in one home their whole life, they can easily become stressed, worried, or scared. Between parents staying organized, following a tight timeline and keeping emotions in check, some parents can often overlook a common problem; how the entire moving process can emotionally (and sometimes negatively) impact their children.
This is a big life change for your whole family and you want the entire moving process as comfortable as possible.
You wont be approaching a two year old the same way you would with a 13 year old. We have come up solutions to assist any child at any age.
This week, we are here to provide you with some tips that can make your move go as stress-free as possible with your kiddos. No matter if you are moving around the corner or across the world these tips will make a difference to your child.
Tip #1: Do your Homework & Communicate
Before you tell the kids that you’re moving, research everything! When you’re ready to tell them, let them know what to expect. Gather all your kids and talk about what your plan is and how it is benefiting your family. Let them ask any questions they may have. Let everyone share their how they feel about the move. When a family is going through a big life change, communication is key.
They should know when moving day is going to take place, your children should feel at ease. In saying that, it’s always a good idea to write the date on a calendar and remind them on a daily basis. You should also maintain an open line of communication regarding the move and give your children as much information as possible.
Research the following;
- Where you will be living, what neighborhood are you moving into? What does the house look like? Does the new home have a large back yard they can play in?
- What school they could potentially be attending to? What sports and activities does the new school have?
- Look for places where your older kids can have part-time job.
- What activities are there to do close to home? Shops, movie theaters, parks etc.
Pictures and maps can help with the anxiety that they may feel. If possible, visit your new home beforehand and explore your new neighborhood together as a family.
Tip #2: Plan for the Time of Year
Summer is typically the best time to move with kids since they are out of school but it is also the busiest time of year to move. If you can’t move in the summer, talk to the teacher’s and find out how to make the transition as painless as possible.
While you are in the new area of your new home, make sure to take a visit to the kid’s new school and don’t forget to bring them along so they know what to expect. They will get the chance to meet their new teachers and tour the school, before hand. It will be normal for them to be nervous but you want them to focus on making friends instead of figuring out where the closest bathroom is.
Tip #3: Get your Children involved
a. House Hunting & Decorating their new room
If you still are searching for a new home, let them come with you when you. They will feel more involved and will be more excited. Tell them that they can look forward to decorating their new room. Let your kids help make some decisions by picking paint colours or how the furniture will be arranged.
If you have younger kids, ask them to draw pictures of what their new home and new room will look like.
b. Pre-Moving Prep
Let them help with all the moving prep such as cleaning the house before a showing, packing up their room, researching the new neighbourhood, hand you items to wrap and pack, throw their toys in a box or label the box. Kids at any age can help do these tasks
c. Pack A Suitcase
If your children are young, ask them to collect only a few of their favourite toys, books, photos, change of clothes, slippers, camera, ipod, blankets, pillows, and put them aside. They can pull these favourite things out when they are feeling down or in a tantrum mood. Consider this the “survival kit”. They can bring these things in the car with them keeping them occupied when they are bored.
Another alternative is to buy them something new. Let them pick out a toy or anything that will keep them busy while you are moving and unpacking.
During the packing process, be sure to set aside some your children’s favourite toys, books and a change of clothing. As soon as you arrive into your new humble abode, unpack these items to make your little one feel right at home.
Tip #4: Turn Packing into a Positive and Efficient Experience
Looking for a fun way to literally ‘get your children moving’? Well, here’s an idea that will do just the trick: a scavenger hunt! Consider placing small treats or surprises in your children’s bedroom or playroom. Once this is done, draw a treasure map or give them hints to help find each item. But here’s the catch: while they’re searching, you have to work as a team and pack up their belongings simultaneously. This game will speed up the packing process and keep them entertained and happy, all at the same time.
As the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind! Set aside a few evenings to discreetly pack your children’s toys and valuables (with a little bit of luck, they might not even realize they’re gone)! This is also a good time to pack breakable items, including fine china, décor and keepsakes.
Tip #5: Lead by Example
Your children will most likely be keeping an eye on your emotions and how you are reacting to the move. Stay positive and act excited during the entire moving process. If you do feel overwhelmed, take a slight break and let everything soak in.
Tip #6: Have a Game Plan
a. Moving Out
a. Consider hiring a sitter or let your kids go to their friend’s house. This day will be busy with moving men, in and out of the home. It will be easier for them to stay out of the house while moving out. Therefore the upheaval will not stress them out.
Move the kid’s bedrooms out last, since it will be the first items off the truck.
b. Meal Plan Organization
Have snacks and lunches ready and packed in a cooler. This will make it easier than having to run to the store while moving or traveling.
c. Moving In
Start putting together the kids bedrooms first. Have the right mattresses in correct bedrooms; make the bed with new sheets, pillows and blankets. This will allow them to come home to their own bed. Now, all you can hope for is for them to have a good nights sleep.
Don’t unpack everything in one day! Especially if your kids wants to open the box labeled TOYS and you have nowhere to put them. Unpack only the every day essentials or if you have a place to store these items.
Take a break. Alternate between your spouse by taking the kids to the park or for a walk. One can stay back to unpack while the other goes out with the kids. By the end of the day, go get ice cream or a treat everyone will enjoy.
Tip #7: Get Back on Schedule
Kids will function so much better when they are on a proper schedule. Try to get back to the schedule you were on before your family moved. Have your meals, naps and bedtimes at normal times. Your kids will get the hint that their lives haven’t changed other than moving into a different house and different city.
Tip #8: Explore the New Neighbourhood as a Family
Take the family on a drive and find out where the closet parks, movie theatre or ice cream shops are. Get to know the streets.
Tip #9: Stick Together
Your children are in new areas, stick together as a family as you transition to your new life. Be patient, it will take time since they have lost what was familiar to them. Be their main support group, talk to them and ask questions.
Tip #10: Friends
You don’t want them to fear of never seeing their friends again. Children love celebrations, this can be a great way to turn your move into a positive, exciting experience. This will be the last gathering with your friends and neighbours. It will be the perfect opportunity for your kids to say goodbye and exchange addresses.
Once you have settled into your new home, help them ease their nerves and shyness by signing your kids up in actives they are familiar with. Introduce your family to other kids at the park or down the street and even at school activities.
And there you have it! With the right planning and by using the tips above, a family move can be a positive experience for everyone involved. We hope this helps your children while you prepare them to move. Good luck with your move. For more information we also can provide you wile a “KIDS on the Move” booklet. Come see us today!