For adults moving to a new home can come with a lot of emotion, but for kids, it can be an absolutely earth-rattler. Kids crave consistency and structure and moving to a new home tends to turn everything they’re used to upside down. The positive to this is that kids are also very resilient and enjoy novelty so with the right plan and frame of mind, moving can be a grand new adventure. Here are some of best ways to make your family’s move a success!
Get some age-appropriate books or movies that explain moving and set a positive tone for the move. Since this is probably the first experience your children have with the concept of moving, setting a good example is important. Books like Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst or Little Critter: We Are Moving by Mercer Mayer are both classics and can help kids understand what’s coming.
While it may be hard to not laugh when your five year old asks how you’re going to fit their bed in your car, it may be just as hard not to cry when your eight year old tells you they’re afraid they won’t make new friends. Every child handles a move differently and it’s up to you as the parent to let them know that you understand their concerns, you take them seriously, and that you will help them make it through.
The timing of your move may be out of your control, but if you can arrange it, try to avoid interfering with routines or milestones if possible. Summer tends to be the easiest time for kids to move to a new home as they’re already out of the school-year routine, they’ll be able to adjust to their new home before school starts, and the nice weather may make it easier for them to meet others in your new neighborhood.
A great tip for keeping kids occupied while packing is to have them decorate the boxes that will be moved into their new room. They’ll feel like they’re contributing and you’ll know exactly which box goes where. Additionally, you may want to think about VERY specifically labeling what is in each box, lest you have to search through three boxes of clothes to find the single pair of red socks your child is willing to put on.
Whether it’s Sunday morning chocolate chip pancakes or dying eggs for Easter, kids love the traditions you create with them. Sure, it might be a hassle to set up your holiday decorations if you move mid-December, but having that consistency in a time of confusion and uncertainty can really help smooth the transition.
Whether you’ve moved across the country or across the street, there will be many differences between your new home and old. Embrace them! Maybe you now have a big yard for your kids to play in or perhaps there’s a view of the river from their new bedroom. Does your new living room have a reading nook that would be perfect to snuggle up in with your child’s favorite book? Finding even small things to celebrate about the ways your new home is great will help your child get excited as well.
Many people will agree that the second worst part about moving is packing. Unpacking is the first. While the thought of unpacked boxes might drive you crazy, take your time helping your children unpack. If you try to get everything done in a day you’ll just end up worn out and crabby. Instead do it little by little and take breaks to play, explore the neighborhood, and do fun activities together.