Moving with Children
Moving can be stressful no matter what the reason is for the move. Emotions and tempers can run short during this time. Help your entire family better handle the moving process by talking about it ahead of time.
Talking with your children about the move in advance should be a top priority. Don’t try to keep it from them, they will know something is up and trying to hide things from them can create anxiety. Explain to each child at his or her own level of understanding why you’re moving, what the new home will be like, and how they can each contribute to the relocation.
Encourage them to express whatever feelings they are having even if they are negative. Try to be as upbeat as possible when speaking about the move. Kids take the lead from you, so the more positive you can be about the move, the more at ease they will be.
If the move is associated with disappointment or grief, your children may not fully understand. Acknowledge that both you and your children will have mixed feelings about leaving, no matter how nice your new home situation promises to be.
Above all, be honest. Truth will go a lot further than pretense or made-up stories when preparing children for the move. Strength of the family unit will contribute immeasurably to the readiness and confidence with which children adapt to their new surroundings.
Tips for Moving with Children
- Include the children in making plans for the move. Take them with you, if possible, when you go hunting for your new house or apartment.
- If you are moving to a distant place, help your children learn about the new area.
- Let the children help in deciding how their new rooms are to be arranged and decorated.
- Take the time to make a last visit to favorite family places.
- Encourage older children to exchange addresses and phone numbers with their friends. A phone call or card to an old friend is a low-cost way to relieve any post-move letdown.
- Prepare a travel package for each child with favorite toys, clothing, and snacks. Label each one with the individual child’s name.
- Both parents should spend time with all the children after the move, listen to what they’ve learned about the new neighborhood, new school etc.
- The first few weeks in a new school may be difficult for your child. Connect with the teacher as soon as possible.
- Younger children may react to the move by reverting to babyish actions. Be reassuring, not scolding. They will soon relax and return to normal behavior.
- Any abnormalities that linger – particularly physical ones, such as loss of appetite, insomnia, night terrors – should be referred to a doctor.
Adults can find moving emotional and stressful. It is likely to be even more so for your children. You will move many valuable possessions when you change addresses, but none as precious as your children. Give them the attention they deserve and need.