Moving can be especially hard on kids. Depending on where you move, they may have to change schools, change routines, and leave their friends. Ideally, your move is planned for the summer so your kids can start the school year along with other students. Starting school at the same time as the rest of the neighborhood kids will allow your kids to make new friends and return to a normal schedule more quickly.
However, not all moves are so easily arranged. Whether your move is during the summer or during the school year, there are several steps you can take to help alleviate your children’s apprehension about the move, making the move less challenging on the whole family.
Before the move
Kids of all ages will probably have questions about your family’s move: Why are we moving? Will I get to see my friends? Do I get to take my stuff? Discussing the move with your kids and listening to and answering all of their questions will help put them at ease. It’s also important that you remain calm, especially if you have younger children, as they often rely on their parents for emotional cues.
Getting the kids acclimated with the new neighborhood through some photographs will also help ease their nerves. Have them search for local landmarks, amusement parks, or sporting events to visit once you arrive at your new home.
If you are moving into a new school district, transfer their school records and enroll them in the new school. You can speak with the administration at the new school to get a new student orientation at the school. The kids can meet administrators and teachers and get a tour of the school, so they don’t feel overwhelmed on their first day.
Depending on their ages, have your children pack up their own rooms (or a box or two) to keep them involved in the process. This is also a good time to pack up a box of essentials for the kids’ first night in the new home. An essentials box for young children might include their favorite toys, books, stuffed animals, pajamas, and blankets.
An essentials box for a parent of young kids could include diapers and wipes, medications, first-aid kit, clothing, formula, snacks, sippy cups or bottles, and extra pacifiers. Also, easy access to strollers, carriers, and car seats are vital for parents with little ones.
Have a plan for the kids on the actual moving day. For older kids, the plan may be for them to unpack their own rooms. For younger kids, the plan may include setting up a play date or finding a babysitter.
When you arrive, you can give your kids a full tour of your new home to get them excited about moving in. Show them hidden doors or staircases and allow them to explore, as long as they are out of the way of the movers.
After the tour, if you have limited access to a babysitter or play date, create a familiar space in your young children’s new bedrooms. Make their beds, hang their curtains, and pull out their favorite toys, books, and blankets.
On a potentially stressful day for your family, having a plan to keep your kids occupied will allow you to move in as smoothly as possible.
Once the actual move is complete, you and your family can start to settle into your new home. Allow your kids to help pick the paint color for their bedrooms. For older kids, you can even have them help paint.
Maintaining a consistent schedule, especially for younger children, will help them return to a sense of normalcy. Remind kids of their bedtimes and continue with fun activities even while you unpack.
Spending time outside is a good way to introduce your kids to their new surroundings. While you’re outside playing, you can meet new neighbors and potentially some of the new neighbors’ kids. This will help acclimate your family to your new neighborhood and your new neighbors to your family.
There is no doubt that moving can be an exciting and emotional time. Moving with kids can make it that much more so. But with proper planning, your family can settle in to their new home more easily.
Have you moved with kids? Do you have any tips on best practices before, during, and after move day? Leave us a comment below!