One minute your kids are excited for the move and the next they are voicing their dread at having to leave their familiar place. Emotions may run high and attitudes about the change may go back and forth, but staying calm and being prepared are two of the best things parents can do to make the transition a little easier.
When getting ready to move with kids, remember to:
- Consider their feelings about the reason behind the move. Many times, kids are thinking more about the life event that prompted the move more than the actual move itself. Divorce, a new job, new military assignment, a death or birth in the family, or even a tragic weather event are all common reasons why families must make a move. Letting your kids know that you understand their worries and are there to support them through the what’s going on may help.
- Get your kids as involved in the process as you can. Allow them to pick out paint colors, decorations, or even map out where the furniture goes in their new room. They more they feel a part of the decision-making process, the more they’ll buy in.
- Pack a bag for each child and keep it with you in the car on moving day. Before you start packing anything, put together a backpack or suitcase of your child’s essential items to eliminate the risk that they get packed up and put in a place that is nearly impossible to reach. Be sure to include:
- A few changes of clothes
- Special stuffed animals
- Games or coloring books to keep them occupied
- Tablets and their chargers
- Birth certificates, ID’s, passports, or other important documents
- Pack one box of their special belongings. If you have room in the car, allow each child to pack one small box of their prized belongings. Books that they cherish, photo frames that always stood on the nightstand, stuffed animals that help them feel at home, games they like to play, baseball gloves, and toys they’ve always played with are all great suggestions to make but let them choose on their own. Allowing them to also decorate the box can also give them something fun to do and give you a few minutes of quiet!
- Keep the attitude that you want your kids to have. If you want your kids to act calm and collected on moving day, it’s important for you to act calm and collected when they are around. Kids sense fear, worry, and stress. While you are most likely dealing with all of those emotions, try your best to stay upbeat and positive.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Having friends or family pitch in to assist with the kids can be a godsend for you and a helpful distraction for them.
- Help them explore their new surroundings. Drive around the new town, walk through the new neighborhood, try the local restaurants, tour the new school, introduce yourself to new neighbors, and check out the local library. The more exposure your kids have, the more familiar they will become, which will make for a smoother transition.