Whether you are moving to a new city, or just across town, moves are never easy, especially with young children. Packing your life into cardboard boxes and hauling your stuff to a new place isn’t a pleasant experience for anyone, but for children it can be disruptive, and downright traumatizing.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make the process less stressful, and fun even. Paramount is making your child feel involved. Being forced to move to a new neighborhood or city can easily leave them feeling powerless.
Be Open with Your Kids
It’s always best to try to be completely open and transparent with your kids. If you’re moving for an exciting new job or a promotion, share this with them. Your enthusiasm will shine through and help to get them excited along with you.
Organize a fun family dinner where you can freely share your feelings about the move. More importantly, this forum will allow your children to share how they are feeling. You can also share your own past experiences of moves that you were involved in, either as an adult or a child.
Try to Involve Them in the Selection Process
If you can, get your children involved to a certain degree in the selection process. Depending on whether it’s feasible or not, try to take your kids with you to open houses. If you’ve narrowed down your options to a few favorites, get their feedback on the home they like best.
If it’s not feasible to take them to the site itself, show pictures of what the potential new home looks like. You can also share pictures of the new city or neighborhood and some of the area parks and recreation centers they can expect to visit. Also, take some time to answer any questions they have to the best of your ability.
Purge Your Belongings Together
A big part of moving is purging old belongings to make the move easier. Try to make a game out of it. Go through your belongings and let them know they can keep items that have personal value, but older clothes and toys they don’t use anymore need to go!
You can also organize a moving sale to sell those purged items. Get your child involved in each step of the process, from the planning to implementation. Let them know the money raised will be spent on something fun for the family in the new home.
Plan Rooms in the New Home
A great strategy to getting your child on board with a move, is involving them in planning the new house. Get their input on how they’d like to decorate the new home, and how they’d like their new room to be decorated.
There are numerous design elements you can plan together. Get them involved with choosing new paint colors, and even looking through furniture catalogues for pieces for the new space.
In the end, communication is key. A move is a stressful time for anybody, but try not to let that anxiety transfer to the young ones in your life. Keep the experience as light and fun as possible.