Moving: Tips to Help Your Children Cope

Young man and his son unpacking boxes after moving to new flatWhen it comes to moving, there are a lot of mixed emotions involved, especially if you have children. While no parent wants to uproot their child’s life, it’s bound to happen from time to time. On average, over 15 million families move within the United States each year. A majority of parents choose to make the move while their children are still young, which comes with its struggles and benefits. The less time children have to establish strong relationships, the easier it is to relocate. However, young kids can’t always grasp the concept of leaving their friends, school, and home, making it harder to accept.

If you’re currently in this type of situation, check out these five steps to help your children cope with a move!

1. Introduce the move

The first step in preparing your child for a move is, to be honest with them. Let them know what’s going to happen and answer any questions they may have. Be empathetic and patient, as they may be upset or not understand. Especially with young children, it’s important to give them positive reassurance on such a big life change. Let them see that you’re excited, and that will likely give them a sense of excitement too. Regardless of a positive or negative reaction, give them time to process this information and be open to talking more about it with them if needed.

2. Plan the move

Now that your children know you’re moving, it’s time to start planning. Reduce your child’s stress around the unknowns by planning ahead and taking care of the details. For example, understanding how much you can afford to spend on your new home is crucial. Online mortgage preapproval can help with expectations and avoid uncertainty during the move. Once you have your mortgage pre-approval from the lender, you’ll be able to feel confident and ready since you now know your budget without having to get attached to homes out of your price range.

3. Find the new house

Looking for a new home can be both exciting and stressful. Now that you’ve planned a few of the details, including your budget, it’s time to find the perfect home for your family. While you look for some main factors such as location, size, and price, make sure you don’t leave your children in the dark. Once you narrow down your top choices, get your kids involved in the process. Bring your kids along on home tours and see what they think. This will help them get more excited about the move and let them picture themselves in a new home.

4. Pack up

Once you break the boxes out, the realization hits that you’re really moving. It can be hard for kids to watch their belongings get packed away and their home get turned upside down. Make sure to help them cope during this change. Let them pack things up if that makes them feel more involved. For young children, have markers at the ready, so they can decorate their boxes with original artwork. If they’re having an especially hard time, pack after they go to bed, so they don’t have to watch. This is also going to be the time to say goodbye to friends and neighbors, which is arguably the hardest part. Arrange video calls, goodbye play dates, or farewell parties with their closest friends. Do your best to keep the energy positive, and pose this change as a new adventure rather than a goodbye.

5. Make it feel like home

Once you’re settled into your new house, now it’s time to make it feel like your home. If possible, let your kids pick out their new rooms to get them excited and comfortable in their new space. Make unpacking more fun with music or creative games. When you’re ready, introduce your family to the neighbors to meet new people. Host a housewarming party with new and old friends to create a unified environment for your kids. Overall, you want this new house to feel normal and more like home.

The next big step is school. Starting a new school can be very stressful, so try your best to prepare your kids for what to expect. Take a walkthrough together to get comfortable with the layout before their first day. It’s always easier going into a new school knowing someone, and if you don’t, ask the teacher or principal for a buddy or peer guide. That way your child can have a person to show them around and introduce them to others. When they feel comfortable, get your kids involved in extracurricular activities to meet more peers. They will have new friends and feel at home in no time.

Moving is never easy, especially with kids. Do your best to make your children feel comfortable and loved throughout the process to ensure a smooth transition. Getting them involved in the process can lift their spirits and get them excited about this new chapter of their life.

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