Tips for Easing the Pain of Moving For Kids
Moving comes with a lot of preparation. From packing to organizing the movers, to coordinating with the real estate agent, and so much more. One of the hardest and often overlooked parts of the moving process is breaking the news to children. Typically, kids do not relish change. Even if the move is not far away and may not constitute any life changes, such as moving schools or making new friends, the move can still be upsetting to a child. Try these tips to make moving for kids a breeze.
Talk Honestly and Openly
This one seems obvious, but it gets ignored. Your children will notice if something is going on. Especially if you are selling, there will be strangers coming to your house for showings.
Inform your kids that you are moving over a casual family dinner. Be sure to let them in on when and why you are moving. Let them know that they can ask any questions they want. The more they feel informed, the less frightened they will be.
Express Your Feelings
Let your kids in on your emotions about the move. Share with them a story about your first moving experience. If they know you are excited, then it is likely they will be too. (Unless they are teenagers--but that's a whole other issue.) Above all, let your children know it will be okay. Because it will be.
Small children can become more comfortable with the idea of moving from story books, so use them to your advantage. Here are two books for children ages three to five:
Big Ernies New Home by Teresa and Whitney Martin Louis + Bob: We Are Moving by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Here are two books for children ages six and up:
Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe by Susan Patro Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli
Ask for their Input
Get feedback from your kids. If they are older, let them go on the search for the new home with you and the real estate agent. They will appreciate being included in the decision process. If you've already selected a home or it's too far away to bring them to it, get lots of pictures or a video to show them. Be sure to include photos of their bedrooms. The more they can be familiarized with the new home and neighborhood beforehand, the more you will ease their anxiety.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
Your child needs to know that their feelings about the move—whatever they may be—are okay. Encourage them to express their sadness or anger in constructive ways. This may be the hardest thing to do, since seeing your child upset can be distressing to you. Make sure they know that your decision is final, and their emotions will not change it, but that you acknowledge their feelings. Allowing children to express their emotions will help them move through the experience in a healthy way.
It should be noted that children should be given boundaries around appropriate time and place for expressing their feelings. You may also want to give them a time limit, because wallowing in emotions isn't healthy either.
Moving is a stressful event, especially with children. Mitigate that stress and use these tips to prepare your kids for your upcoming move.