The process of uprooting your family to move is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful one. For children, these exciting, stressful, overwhelming emotions can be magnified and the process of moving can become a traumatic one if parents do not make a conscious effort to prepare their kids for the big move.
During this transition time, it is important for parents to give their children the support they need in order to make the move a positive time for the kiddos. Here are a few things to keep in mind throughout the process.
- Have a Conversation: When deciding whether your family will be moving, talk to your children, involve them in the process, and discuss how their everyday life would be affected. Talking to them in advance and allowing children to communicate their fears or hesitations will give them time to prepare for the change while knowing you understand and sympathize with their opinions.
- Keep a Positive Attitude: Even if your family’s move is out of your control and one that you are not happy about (financial troubles, job transfer, divorce, etc.), work hard to remain positive in order to encourage your child and make him or her feel confident about the future.
- Involve your Kids: When possible, allow your children the opportunity to take ownership in the moving process. Searching for new homes, packing, organizing a plan to unpack– let your kids be a part of the planning committee so they feel important and are excited to carry-out their specific job.
- It’s a Learning Opportunity: Use the moving experience as a learning opportunity for your children! What better way to give children real life lessons about what a mortgage is, what steps are required to buy or sell a house, or the career opportunities there are in real estate? This is the perfect opportunity to bring a little bit of the classroom home, hopefully without any pop quizzes!
- Make a BIG effort to make new, happy memories: Before, during and after the move, it is important to give your child(ren) special attention. Maybe take them to their favorite restaurant or take them out to explore the new neighborhood. Allow them to pick what you do together…whatever feels special to them. By giving your child one-on-one time, he or she will feel important, excited, and more comfortable opening up about their feelings during this transition time.
- Start Decorating Plans: Make plans to decorate your child’s new room ASAP! Even when you feel like you have countless other things to do, it is important to make your child’s new room a top priority on your to-do list. Making him or her feel comfortable in their new room will ease some of the anxiety amongst all of the changes.
- Continue Chatting: Keep the conversation going, far beyond the actual move. Some of the stress of moving is the preparation, but even more stress happens after the move takes place. Stay alert and keep the conversation with your child going in order to make your child’s transition a happy one into their new “home sweet home.” Whether he or she needs time to visit old friends or a little help in making new friends… your child needs your support after the boxes are unpacked.
Like any parenting, there is absolutely no right or wrong way! But hopefully these tips will spark the conversation and allow you to make a game plan that will help your family transition with ease.