How to Prepare Your Kids for a Move
Moving under the best of circumstances can be extremely stressful, even if all you are doing is moving down the street or even into a larger apartment in your same complex. If you are lucky enough to be moving close by, you don’t have to endure the emotional stress of having to say goodbye to close family and friends while simultaneously venturing into a completely new and unknown neighborhood. Moving just yourself or you and your spouse can be trying, however, and even more so when you have kids to prepare for the move as well.
Here are a few ways to help prepare your kids for a move:
Even though you may have your own fears and misgivings about the move, your kids are not the ones to share these with. Save those for your family, friends, spouse and other adults. Any time you move, you are giving up what is familiar and known for what is unfamiliar or unknown – which feels unsafe. Even if you are moving to a larger apartment, home or a better neighborhood, that better place is still unknown in comparison to where you are now. This is the time for you to be the safety and stability your kids need most.
One of the biggest stresses of moving is packing and moving all of your stuff. If you are moving quite a distance, it may actually cheaper to sell or even give away large furniture pieces and buy new things in your new location than it is to move them. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids what really matters (hint: it’s not “stuff”) but they will learn from what you do, not from what you tell them. If you do some major downsizing when moving, encourage them to do the same, which will help them move through life more freely and less hampered by “stuff.”
Help them say goodbye
Whether it’s having a big party for all their friends or a month of sleepovers with their best buddy, help your kids say goodbye. Even if you are just moving down the street, they are still leaving some things behind. If they need to walk through the house saying goodbye to everything that isn’t going with you, let them do that. If you are moving to a new neighborhood but they will attend the same school, let them walk through the neighborhood and say goodbye to what was important to them about that neighborhood.
Give them something to look forward to
Whether it’s having their own room or finally getting to have a puppy because now you will have a backyard, give them a reason to be excited about the new place they are going. This is even more important if you are moving to a smaller place or a less desirable neighborhood. When your reason for moving is not a happy one, it’s even more important to find something positive to focus on.
Encourage them to learn about where they are going
If you live close enough to be able to drive them to see the new school they will be attending, do it. If you will be changing churches or if they will be joining a new sports team, try and get them as familiar with those new things as possible before you move. If you are moving to an entirely new city and have the opportunity to take them there first for the weekend, do it. The internet can also be a great resource to help them learn a great deal about the new place they will be living, especially if you can’t take them there to visit in advance.
Under the right circumstances, moving can be a grand adventure for kids. Try and help them develop the best possible outlook towards moving. This will not only help them move well this time, but help them move well through life.