Moving is a big change for everybody involved. Though it can take its toll on the decision makers themselves, the reaction of their children is often harder to handle. The truth is, every child will react differently to the news that they are moving. Some will be excited about a new house, a new room and new friends. But, more often than not, kids struggle with the idea of leaving everything they know behind to start over somewhere else.
So what can you do to help the situation? You’re moving, too, so it’s not as if your emotional plate is empty. The key to making both you and your children’s moving experience a positive one is to get the kids involved at the beginning – and then keep them engaged throughout the entire moving process. We’ve come up with four simple ways to ease the stress of moving for both you and your child:
As soon as you know your family will be moving, be completely honest with your child right away. A lot of people make the mistake of believing that the longer they wait to share the news, the less time the child has to make a big deal of it. But, think about it rationally. Wouldn’t you want time to process the change and let your friends know? Your child needs time to get used to the idea of moving.
Your child is bound to have several questions regarding the move, especially if it is their first one. Make sure that you take the time to listen to and answer your child’s questions so that they are comfortable with all of the details. Plus, their questions may actually serve as a spotlight to help you figure out how to get them more involved. For example, you hear “But what will I do for fun in (insert new city here)?” Instead of listing off activities, be interactive. Sit down with your son or daughter and research the destination city. Show them pictures online of the places that they will be able to go. Better yet, once you have settled on your new home, take them there so that you can actually visit the places that you are trying to get them excited about.
3. Be inclusive.
It is one thing to ask your child’s opinion of a photo of the new home, but it’s entirely different to actually take them on your home finding trips. Let them see what their new room will be like so they can start imagining themselves in it. As you envision how you’ll decorate your new place, let your child do the same. Be sure to involve your child in other aspects of the process as well including the planning, packing and even marketing your old home. A friend of mine told me that when she was moving as a young girl, the Realtor brought over a copy of the Listing Agreement specifically for her to sign. Now she realizes it held no actual merit, but at the time she felt very important.
4. Be Positive.
This last one is short and sweet. Whatever the reasons are behind your upcoming move, your child will not be excited about it if you are being negative. Focus on the pros of the move – even if you aren’t exactly thrilled about it. It’s really important to paint a positive image.
It’s only natural for there to be some mixed feelings about moving away from home, especially as a child, but it’s not a lost cause. Follow these steps to change potential negative feelings into a fun experience.
Have you moved with kids before? What have you done to make it easier?