Moving — whether its across town or across the country — can be exciting, but it also carries its fair share of stresses, especially for kids. Younger children may struggle with understanding why they must leave behind a beloved home environment, while older children have a hard time transitioning away from the school, friends, and routine that’s familiar to them.
These feelings are normal and understandable, but they leave many parents wondering how to make moving easier on kids. Following some of these moving house tips may ease the process so that your kids are better able to adjust to their new home.
Give Kids Plenty of Time to Prepare for a Move
When providing a new home for kids, giving them plenty of notice lets them adjust and prepare for the move. After you break the news, prepare for a lot of questions. Kids often feel better if you are as upfront as possible and you answer their questions as truthfully as you can.
Many times, children have a fear of the unknown. Alleviate some of their concerns, and provide as much information as you can about the changes they’ll experience. If you’re moving close by, then drive by your new home so that the kids can see where they’ll live. If you’re moving farther away, show your children a picture of the new house, or find out as much as you can about your new town. Highlight things they can get excited about, such as new activities they can join, fun places to visit, or features the home has.
Get Kids Involved in the Move
Kids want to feel like they’re in control and that they have a say in this new life change, so get them involved whenever possible. This might mean you let them help as you’re purging for a move, you allow them to pick out their bedroom in the new house, or you ask for their input and ideas as you’re decorating your new pad.
A word of caution, though. Only hand over the reins for things you’re willing to let them decide. Don’t ask their opinion on which house you should buy before things are settled. “The last thing a parent wants is for a child to fall in love with a home that they cannot afford to buy or that may not be ‘the one’ for another reason,” says Adam Leitman Bailey, a real estate attorney and author of the children’s book, “Home.”
Instead, he offers an alternative for getting the kids involved. “Once you have narrowed down the last two homes or the home you have an accepted offer on, then ask them what they think and make them believe they chose the house. It will make all the difference when they start missing their old home.”
Say Goodbye…and Hello
If you’re helping a toddler adjust to moving, then walk through your empty house and say goodbye to the rooms. Then take a drive for one last look through the neighborhood, and pass familiar landmarks. This type of ritual gives a certain sense of closure to everyone, especially young children. Likewise, once you’ve moved to your new location, take an afternoon and explore the new town as you discover places you’re likely to visit. Showing kids the location of their school, library, playground, and even grocery store helps give the new area a sense of familiarity.
Reach Out to Others
Leaving friends behind is a big source of anguish for kids who are moving, so do everything you can to find opportunities for your kids to make new friends quickly. This could mean signing up for sports or other activities right away, finding kids in the neighborhood to make playdates with, or reaching out to others at their new school. “Become active in learning about town events and get-togethers, and attend everything you can,” says Leitman Bailey. The more involved you are, the more chances your children will have to meet others and feel like they fit into their new home.
Children crave structure and stability, and a move can feel like everything is being upended. Emphasize that even though the house is changing, your family will still be together. For young children, it’s especially important that you try and stick to as many routines as you can, like family meal times or evening bedtime rituals. This also means keeping as many things the same as you can in your new home. When you set up your child’s new bedroom, try and make it as familiar as possible. If you can’t decorate it in the same way, then try setting down the same rug or hanging up the same pictures on the wall so that your young children will instantly feel like they are at home.
These guidelines are helpful in how to make moving easier for kids, but realize that all change comes with an adjustment period. If you’re moving, be prepared to give your kids a little extra love and attention to help them throughout the process. Making your new house as comfortable as possible can help ease the transition. If you need furniture to help your new house feel like home, CORT Furniture Rental can provide the pieces you need to furnish your new space.