Moving, like any major life change, brings about a lot of mixed emotions for adults, and even more so for kids who might not know or understand everything leading up to the decision. Worried about how your kids will adjust to your new house? Here are some tips and best practices for helping kids settle into a new home.
How do I tell my Child We’re Moving?
Many parents aren’t keen on this conversation, in part because they’re not sure how their kids might react. But honesty is the best policy, so be upfront with them about when and why you’re moving. Give them time to wrap their brains around this, then talk about how they can be involved – joining you on home tours, selecting which features will be included in the custom build, or indicating which room they want as their own.
Essentially, tell them and let them process, but don’t linger on the “why” for too long. Answer your child’s questions honestly, and then dive into the rest of the process so they – and you – aren’t hung up on the news.
How do I Prepare my Kids for Moving?
So you’ve shared the news, and your kids seem to be on board (at least for today) – success! Now it’s time to start planning. Talk to them about the moving process and create a Moving Plan; this will help kids conceptualize what to expect leading up to and throughout the move, while simultaneously helping you prepare by having to think through every single step.
By when should all boxes be packed? What dinner will you have to celebrate? If you haven’t found a home yet, what is the next step in your home search process?
Creating a plan and including your kids’ opinions is a great way to help restore a sense of control to them, which will, in turn, help them process the move.
How do I Pack a Kid’s Room?
This step is a bit easier said than done. The sense of control we just mentioned? It’s time to hand over the reins and let the little ones take the lead.
Supervise so they’re safe and that priceless heirloom antique clock doesn’t end up tossed into a box of toys, but otherwise, let them decide what to put in each box.
If time permits, make them responsible for labeling and packing boxes from their room – know that this could elongate the process, so reiterate that packing deadline. If you’re downsizing or decluttering as you go, let your kid decide what goes and what stays.
How do I Incorporate Kids into Moving Day?
Getting overwhelmed just thinking about the chaos of moving day? The first step to tackling these anxieties is making sure you’re not doing it alone, literally. Whether it’s a partner, extended family, movers, or a babysitter, have help on hand to make sure you’re not moving boxes and comforting kids all at the same time. Having a responsible person to give them undivided attention (or to do your moving so you can be with them) will ensure they’re not feeling left out or left behind.
The next step? Give them something to do. If your kids are older, let them help direct movers or transport light or fragile items. For littles, have books and activities on hand so they can play independently. Keeping them focused will free you up to handle the obstacles of moving house.
Another step to take is helping each child put together a backpack before the move with all of their valuables in it. Anything from a well-loved stuffed animal to a favorite t-shirt can be included; this way, when emotions are running and high and patience is disappearing, comfort items are nearby.
How do I Help a Child Adjust to a New Home?
Wait, isn’t this the whole reason we’re here? Why is this section at the very end?
Taking the aforementioned steps will help ease the overall adjustment process. Openly communicating, generating a positive vibe about the move overall, giving them a sense of control, and maintaining calm during the process helps make a positive transition into the new home. All you have to do is continue these steps once in your new home.
Continue to communicate – answer questions they have, and those they don’t think to ask. How will they get to school? What will they wear to school, and where is the bathroom? Who are the neighbors, and what are they like? Does moving into a new house mean you can finally get that dog they’ve been begging for? Keeping this line of communication open will not only help your children adjust to their new space, but also give you a sense of their struggles and how they’re adapting.
Stay positive, but be realistic. Just as you did with packing, give them a deadline for unpacking, and consider building in rewards – maybe trying out a restaurant in the new neighborhood or going to a movie together. These incentives have the added bonus of helping to make new, happy memories. Don’t forget, though, to let them take the lead at times. If they’re old enough, let them decide how their room will be set up, or what photos or pictures will go on the wall.
Moving is a daunting task for anyone, and is made even more complex when trying to navigate kid’s emotions and questions. Whether you’re still in the planning phase or your move is right around the corner, take a deep breath and remind yourself that when this is all over, you’ll have a brand new home in which to create memories with your family.
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections.