Moving is stressful for everyone, and in all the hustle and bustle of packing, hiring moving services, finding new housing, severing legal ties to old housing, the physical move itself, unpacking, and settling in to your new home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Children are the not the decision makers or the action takers for the tasks listed above, yet they are likely to be the most effected emotionally by the move. After all, they may be leaving the only home, school, neighborhood, and friends they’ve ever known behind, for a series of equivalent unknown quantities. How can you make the transition as smooth as possible for the youngest members of your family?
Start with a family meeting. Help your children feel involved in the process of moving as early as possible. This will assist them in feeling that they have agency in the process and that their voices are heard, in addition to giving them time to adjust psychologically to all the upcoming upheavals. Listen to their concerns about the new changes, and respond with compassion.
Make Plans for the Future
Create plans for what various aspects of the children’s future will be like, and let them assist in both making some decisions, and in more practical ways. These plans can encompass everything from designing their new room, and allowing them to make a few decisions about what furnishings or decorations to add, to planning out what the moving day itself will be like. It’s a good idea to explain what will happen during the day of the move ahead of time to minimize your kids’ anxieties and keep unpleasant surprises out of the equation. Empower them by assigning them moving day tasks, like minor cleaning jobs and bringing snacks and drinks to the movers.
Explore Your New Surroundings
Support your children’s transitions after the move by helping them become familiar with the new parts of their lives. Explore your new neighborhood and discover places to have fun together. Talk to your kids about their current interests, and help them each choose a group to join to explore an extracurricular activity that intrigues them, or continue the studies they were pursuing before the move. From sports to dance classes to scouting groups, your children should have fun deciding what to learn more about, then making friends their own age with whom they already share an interest.
Check Out the New School
Prepare to begin at the new school. If you are moving between school years, ask if the new school offers some sort of way of meeting the teachers before the first day of the semester. This will give the child an opportunity to get to know the building itself, to meet the new teachers, and maybe even meet some of the other children who will be in their classes. Ask the teachers about the curriculum for their grade and ascertain how it compares to the curriculum at the old school. If your children need to catch up, find effective ways to bring them up to speed, be it hiring tutors or instructing them yourself.
Hiring moving services can make many parts of moving much easier. With all you and your family have to keep track of and be responsible for, moving professionals can ease the burdens of moving for all family members. Your children will be more likely to remember a smooth, organized moving day fondly than a chaotic move which has you stressed out and distracted. You can’t outsource parenting, but you can easily find efficient help for other aspects of your upcoming move.
Kay Kissinger is a freelance writer and stay at home mother to her 3 kids