Nearly 40 million Americans choose to move every year. While the stresses of moving are well documented, one thing families realize all too well is that moving can be especially difficult for children, who crave consistency and routine.
How can you help your children to cope with the moving process? Here are a few important things to keep in mind to smooth the transition and make moving an exciting challenge for your kids, rather than a harrowing one.
1) Keep Them in the Loop
Let your kids know as soon as possible that the move will be happening. Why? This gives your child time to process the move and what it will mean for them, so that by the time the big day comes, it’s no longer a surprise. This can also give you time to address any questions and concerns they’ll likely have. Not to mention, little children often have big ears, and it may be harder than you think to keep it a secret.
2) Make Them Part of the Decision Process
If you haven’t yet decided on a house or apartment, let your child express what they think is important in a new home. Even if you can’t honor all their desires, making them a part of the decision process will let them feel more control of the situation, and make the move feel like a choice made as a family, as opposed to something being done to them.
3) Visit Beforehand if You Can
If possible, plan a short trip to visit your new city so that your child can get a feel for their new home. Knowing your child’s interests, do research ahead of time and find activities they can be excited about. Making a fun museum or park visit a part of your trip can be a good idea—it will encourage your child to associate their new home with positive memories.
4) Be Proactive About Staying in Touch
One of the most common concerns children express about the moving process is staying in touch with old friends. Luckily, the technology available today makes it easier than ever to maintain friendships even across long distances. Make sure your child has everything they need—whether that’s phone numbers, addresses, or Instagram handles—to keep in communication. If possible, it can be a great idea to invite one of your child’s current friends for a weekend visit sometime in the future. This will help everyone maintain a positive outlook about what the move will mean.
5) Give Them Something to Get Excited About
What kid doesn’t have a secret wish for what their room could look like? Give your child something to look forward to—their new bedroom. If they’ve been asking for purple walls, dangling beads in the doorway, or even a canopy, this can be an easy way to get your kids to look forward to the move. You can also suggest ideas, such as using chalkboard paint for a “drawable” wall or installing a loft bed for more desk space. Older kids can even be given a budget and the freedom to choose for themselves.
When you’re moving your family to a new city, it’s important to take steps to mitigate stress so that the move is a positive experience for everyone involved. For more moving tips and tricks, consult the moving experts at RARE Moving & Storage.