No one enjoys moving, but odds are good that one day you will. According to the Census Bureau, an American may move 11.4 times (on average) during his or her lifetime. And, if applicable, that includes the kids.
As life-changing as a move can be for parents, it can be downright traumatic for children, who may not understand it. Experts agree that kids need some extra attention during the transition. Here are some tips to make the move easier on everyone in the family.
Involve them in the planning
As simplistic as this may sound, the best way to prepare kids for a move is to talk to them about it as soon as you possibly can, writes kidshealth.org. Be completely truthful and honest when you answer their questions, and allow the kids to have both positive and negative reactions. Just remember that while empathy is good, there’s no need to throw them a pity party.
By involving them in the planning from the beginning, they will feel they are part of the process of selecting a new home and/or a new school. If you’re moving across town, visit the new house (or see it being built) and check out the new neighborhood.
If moving farther away, the internet is a great way to learn about your new community. Your realtor may even be able to supply you with some additional pictures of the new house and new school to show your child.
Also, talk about the move often to reinforce that it is real and it is going to happen.
Get rid of the excess
Let the kids know that now is a great time to cut through the clutter, cites howstuffworks.com. There’s bound to be many things that don’t need to go along to the new home. Let the kids know that you don’t want to throw out everything, and that it’s OK to keep things that hold special memories. Clothes, toys or electronics that are no longer used, should go into the toss pile, sell pile or donate pile.
If kids are old enough, parentingsquad.com also suggests letting them help you pack some of their personal belongings. It makes them more invested in the process.
After the move
Once you’re in your new place, and dependent on your child’s age, try to get their room in order as soon as you can. Also, try to maintain your regular schedule for meals and bedtime to give kids a sense of familiarity, kidshealth.org says.