By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
It's very exciting to have a new place to live. Especially when the move is an upgrade from your current situation.
But kids may not see things the same way, especially if they have close friends and/or family where they live already. The idea of moving to a new school and away from established relationships can cause a great deal of anxiety in children.
While it may still be difficult for kids to move away from familiar people, places, and things, there are things you can do to ease the transition.
Make sure they know about each step along the way. Children need to feel safe to express their fears as well as asking questions so be prepared to offer information and answer any questions they may have. While some of their opinions and worries may be negative, be prepared with understanding and positive answers. Take care not to invalidate their fears but, instead, acknowledge their concerns and explain ways that you can work together to overcome them.
Introduce Them to Their New Home
If possible, take them to the new neighborhood and even to the new home. Let them get a feel for where they'll be moving to. If it's not possible to take them to tour the new home and area, take pictures or videos so they'll have some idea of what the new place will be like. Be sure to point out all of the positive aspects of the move (larger rooms, big yard, etc.).
Take them for a Tour of the School
It may not be possible to do this physically, but most education institutions in America have a website. Visit the local school board's website and you'll likely find links to your child(ren's) new school(s). Show them different school clubs and activities that they will be able to participate in. School is a giant source of anxiety for children and also one of the largest parts of their lives, so it's important that they are prepared before they begin a new school. If you're in a position to take them on a physical tour of the new school, be sure to introduce them to key players like the principals and guidance counselors.
Involve Them in Packing
There are plenty of age-appropriate ways that children can be involved in the process of packing up. Have them help you pack up their personal belongings in boxes and allow them to label the boxes of their things. (A bonus is they can go through their things and donate or discard things that they no longer use).
Stick with Routines
Moving can be a frantic and exhaustive time for parents but don't let this deter you from staying with the same familiar routines the kids are accustomed to. Children need consistency and predictability to feel safe and secure and moving time is one of those times when it's even more necessary. Since they're already experiencing a time of uncertainty by moving to an unfamiliar place, it's even more important to keep as many things familiar as possible.
Decorate Their Rooms First
Kids need structure and familiarity so it's important that their new rooms be as familiar to them as possible. By getting their new bedrooms furnished and decorated first, you establish them as important parts of a new life. Involving them in the process fortifies this need and makes them feel special and “at home”.
Investigate the New Neighborhood
Guide your children in getting to know the new neighborhood, landmarks, and neighbors. Encourage them to make new friends and get to know the geometry of the new area so they don't feel quite so lost.
When parents stress, kids stress. That's why it's helpful to utilize everything you possibly can to ensure you don't get stressed out, yourself. By arranging for a professional moving company to aid you in your residential move, you remove some of the stress from your back so you can focus more on the important stuff.
The ultimate goal when moving with children is to ensure they feel safe and secure. If you take every opportunity to help them see the positive side of the move and get excited about it, your chances of making them feel safe and secure are magnified and they'll be much happier embracing your new home.