How to Help Your Kids Handle a Move to a New Town

Adults are usually ready to welcome a new house with open arms, but kids might not be so agreeable.

Relocating with children is a unique experience because children process moving differently from adults. Before you get your kids excited about family events in your new home, you have to help them prepare for the prospect of moving.

Here are four tips to help you prepare your kids so that when moving day comes, you can avoid a potential meltdown.

Tell Them What to Expect

When you announce the move, be prepared for the possibility that your children might feel uneasy.

As an adult, you have an easier time wrapping your head around why moving is a good idea. You’re moving for a job, a better home, or better school opportunities for your children. You made this decision, and you’re excited about it.

Your child, however, did not make this decision, and they don’t have a say in changing it. All they see is that they must leave behind their friends and favorite places.

If you have an older child, alleviate their fears about a new school while emphasizing the exciting parts. If they participate in any clubs, talk about similar clubs in their new school. If they love art or music, talk to them about museums and concert halls in your new city.

If you have a young child who is too young to understand the concept of a move, explain it to them by acting it out with stuffed animals. Many young children fear that they’ll be left behind in a move, so emphasize that the whole family is going together and that all of their beloved possessions will come, too.

Let Them Express Their Feelings

As a parent, it’s heartbreaking to see your children burst into tears or throw tantrums at the prospect of an impending move. However, for kids, this is a natural response to a seismic life shift, and it’s important to let them express it.

Acknowledge their sadness and frustration about moving even as you point out the positive aspects. Encourage them to identify their feelings in words so that you can talk through what’s upsetting them.

Even if your child is genuinely excited about moving, don’t underestimate how difficult some losses may be, such as the loss of a favorite neighborhood dog they saw every day or an increased distance from a grandparent.

Make a Moving Book

One way to help prepare your kids for moving is by getting them involved in a moving scrapbook.

This book will serve a few purposes:

  •    Give them something of your old home to hold on to
  •    Help them process the moving process
  •    Help them prepare for your new home

The best way to do this is by getting your kids as involved as possible. Give them a camera and ask them to take pictures of their favorite things in your current house and neighborhood. That will start the scrapbook.

Then, take several trips to your new home, neighborhood, and city. Have them write down or take pictures of things they’re excited for, like cinnamon rolls at a new bakery, a new park down the street, or a photo of their new rooms before you paint it like their old rooms.

End the scrapbook on a photo of the whole family together in your new home. This will create a cohesive storyline that your kids can refer to when they need reassurance.

Put on Your Oxygen Mask First

Above all, take the advice from flight attendants and put on your own oxygen mask first.

In other words, it’s impossible to manage your children’s stress if you cannot manage your own stress.

Stop packing. Go to bed. Make a proper dinner. Give yourself time to decompress and address your own frustrations. As all parents know, it’s extraordinarily difficult to be patient with an upset child when you’re at the end of your rope.

Are You Prepared for Moving with Children?

If you’re moving with children, you’ve probably thought long and hard about the process. Getting your kids to accept the move is a full-time job, never mind the prospect of moving itself.

That’s why it’s so important to hire a great moving company. We will take a weight off your shoulders so that you can focus on what matters most—family.

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