Moving can be a difficult and hectic process, even for experienced adults. It can be as stressful, if not more so, for children as they do not have any control over the situation, can feel a sense of loss, and face many uncertainties. It is important that parents maintain a positive, supportive, and patient disposition to help children with this transition. Create a joyful outlook about the move, that your children can mimic. Children of all ages will have to navigate the emotional response to the transition and there is no one magical formula that will make the move easier for all kids. Listen to your kids’ needs, and find joy in helping prepare for the move. However, there are several practical suggestions and resources which might lead you to find the path that works best for your family. Most of the activities are appealing to younger children but general concepts are applicable to everyone, including adults.
- Listen – This is one of the most important parts of communication. Encourage your child to express their feelings, joys, and concerns with you. Listen to what they are sharing and respond to those points.
- Talk – Engage in conversations about the move, new community, and ways to keep parts of the community you are leaving. Create a scrapbook, connect on social media, or video call friends and family after the move and give them a video tour of your new place.
- Be Positive – Exhibit an attitude of happiness about the move. Find positive aspects they might find about the move.
- Be Patient – This can be difficult during the hectic time of preparing for a move. Calmness and a plan will reduce tension for everyone.
- Answer Questions – Encourage questions and open communication. Provide honest answers in age-appropriate detail.
- Respect – Their treasures, toys, and furnishings are important. Respect their things and space, especially for older teens. Emotions are healthy. Embrace them and support each other with kindness.
- Include Children – Make them part of the process. Let them share input on decisions such as giving items away, having them pack their belongings, and deciding what place to visit first in the new town.
- Support – Let them know that you care about what they are going through. Make sure they have their favorite stuffed animal or another comfort item on move day.
- Show – In-person or through pictures, show them their new home, new room, new school, parks, and other places of interest.
- Do a Project – Make a craft or decor item together for your new home. Make a craft or a card to leave at your old home for the new owners. Decorate one side of the moving boxes.
- Self Care – Take care of yourself also, as you prepare for the move, so that you can support your family.
Here are some links that may be helpful:
Children’s books about moving and a new home:
Make a car (or be creative and make other things) out of boxes: