Even when you live alone, moving from one home to another is sure to be stressful. After all, you’re leaving your comfort zone, the familiar neighborhood and people, and going to an entirely new place where you have to start from scratch. As exciting as that might be, it’s also rather nerve-wracking.
But what if, on top of that, you have children? In such a case, it’s not only your feelings you have to worry about but theirs as well. And kids aren’t likely to see the move as you do — as a necessary and positive change. Actually, they may feel overwhelmed or like you’re unfairly taking things that they love away from them.
To avoid this scenario, you should put extra care in preparing your children for the moving day. Since that’s not easy, we’ve asked Oz Moving, a moving company in New York City, for a few helpful tips. And here is what they told us.
1. Talk to Them About the Move Early On
The last thing you want to do is tell your children about the move late and, in a way, blindside them. Kids don’t like sudden and unexpected changes because they make them feel insecure or as if things are out of control. The earlier you tell them, the more time the kids will have to accept the fact and process their feelings.
So, as soon as you make a final decision, you should let your children know. Sit them down and have a talk about it; explain what’s going to happen and what is expected of them. It’s essential to be clear, open, and ready to answer any questions they might have. Ultimately, the more information they have about the move, the safer they will feel.
2. Let Them Grieve
When they learn about the upcoming move, your kids are likely to go through a grieving period. That might involve anger, tears, or refusal to accept their new reality. And though you have a lot on your plate already, you shouldn’t dismiss or ignore your children’s feelings — nor should you get upset with them for not taking the news well.
Instead, honor your children’s grief. Encourage them to share their feelings, to tell you what makes them upset and what they’ll miss. Listen to them and acknowledge that what they’re feeling isn’t wrong, but don’t let them wallow in their grief too much. If they tell you they’ll miss the playground they always visit, you may show them photos of one near your new home. That way, you will give them something to look forward to despite their grief.
3. Allow Them to Decorate Their Own Bedrooms
Are you trying to think of ways to get your children at least slightly excited about the move? Telling them that they could decorate their new bedrooms as they wish might do the trick. It will certainly give them something to think about during the stressful moving process, allowing you to focus on other things.
But don’t make any promises you don’t intend to keep. In case you are worried that your kids will come up with outrageous ideas that are impossible to realize, you should know that won’t usually be the case. And even if it is, you can always provide them some guidance and find compromises that work both for your budget and your child. All it takes is some open communication!
4. Sign Them Up for Activities in Advance
Even before you’ve officially moved, you can begin building a life in your new neighborhood for you and your children. An excellent way to do that is to sign your kids up for various activities — sports, clubs, music lessons, or anything else they love doing. That will give them something to look forward to, and they won’t sit idly around the house when you finally move.
On top of that, group activities are excellent for meeting new friends and getting adjusted to the new community. Your kids likely won’t be thrilled about leaving their old friends behind and going to a place where they don’t know anyone. But they’ll feel much better if they get a chance to befriend other children as soon as they move.
5. Let Them Help With Packing
Your kids probably won’t be too involved in the moving process as a whole, but it may be good to give them a few simple tasks. That way, they will get a stronger sense of responsibility and feel like they have at least some degree of control. Plus, these tasks will occupy their minds and take their thoughts away from the anxiety and sadness they may feel.
But of course, you can’t ask your kids to make a moving timeline or cancel utility services. What you can do, however, is get them to help you with packing. In fact, they could choose which belongings they want to bring along and pack those. That’s simple enough and teaches them to be responsible for the things they own.
Moving with kids may sound like a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. You just need to listen to them, respect their feelings, and be gentle. Remember — as difficult as the move might be for you, it’s even more challenging for your kids. So, whenever you can, support them and show them that this change is a good thing and nowhere near as scary as they think it is.