For kids, moving can be a harrowing experience. Adults are able to associate moves with looking ahead to new opportunities, but kids may not have the same broadened view.
While you’re packing up, buying a new home, hiring movers and loading everything away, you might be too busy to realize that your kids are in the dark about the entire process.
To make the move easier on your kids, let them help out and get them more involved in the process. The more they know about the move and the more they can help out, the less apprehensive they’ll feel about the process.
Younger Kids: Ages 5 and Under
A memory board is a great way for young kids to cherish memories of their old house. Because they aren’t exactly old enough to help pack, they may feel like they’re at the mercy of everything around them. Set up a space for them to start collecting memories of the house that they can move to the new one.
You should also try to move at a time that isn’t too transitional for your kids. For instance, avoid moving while they’re potty training, or in the middle of a school year. Try to hire babysitters or ask family and friends to keep younger kids entertained while you settle details for the move.
Packing a bag of their favorite items to keep during the move will also make them feel a sense of security. Having their favorite toys, blankets or stuffed animals near will help to relax them.
Elementary Aged Kids: 5-11
Older children will have a lot of questions and concerns. If they express their hesitancies and ask questions, don’t ignore them. If you’re too busy to explain everything right then and there, set aside time to talk later. Answering their questions will make them feel much more at ease and secure.
Kids this age also love an adventure. Use the move as time to let them branch out and try new things. Visit new restaurants, let them pick fun outfits, or let them have special snacks. They’ll come to realize that moving is an exciting time and that they have a lot to look forward to at their new home.
Middle School: 12-14
Pre-teens are just beginning to find themselves at this age, and uprooting during the middle of their discovery can be difficult. Throwing a going away party or giving them more cell phone minutes or text messages per-month could be a nice parting gift. If your child doesn’t have a cell phone, you could allow them to connect with friends over the Internet. They can stay in touch with old friends while they make new friends in a new location.
High School and Older: 15 and Up
Teens can have an especially hard time adjusting to the idea of moving. Give your teenagers a chance to exercise a little responsibility. Show them that moving to a new house means that they’re growing up and can be trusted more. Let them pack and label boxes, or choose a room in the new house. You can also bring teens along the house hunt and let them know that you value their input.
You should also give your teens a going away party and plenty of time to say goodbye to friends. Once you’re in the new house, try to get their feedback on how they’re adjusting and let them visit friends if the distance permits.
Most of all, keep communication lines open with kids of all ages. Moving can be stressful and difficult, but talking through issues and concerns can make all the difference.
[About the author: Nan is a fitness expert and marketer who loves traveling the world to advise at sporting events. When she’s stateside, she enjoys spending time volunteering at environmental organizations and spending time with her lab mix, Cody.]
Image: CarbonNYC at Flickr