Making moving less stressful for your kids
As we talked about in last week’s blog, moving is stressful. You know what else is weirdly stressful? Being a kid. Sure, you have few responsibilities and Christmas is still magical, but you also have a lot of emotions and limited ability to process them. Big changes can be confusing to children and moving is just that – change. Especially if it’s the first time your kids have ever moved, or if changing schools or friends is inherent in the change, it can feel overwhelming.
But, we have a few suggestions to make the transition go a little smoother for your kids. Which, ultimately, will make everyone’s life a little easier.
1. Talk to them
Sure, it seems obvious to you that their new little sister, or the dog, or their favourite stuffy will be coming along to the new house. But, it might not be obvious to your kids. Talk to them about the move and ask them plenty of questions about what they are excited or nervous about. Don’t assume they understand what the move will mean for them. It’s especially common for kids to worry that they won’t see their friends again, so plan ahead for a party at the new house and get them excited about it. Be patient and make sure they understand what will and won’t change as much as possible.
2. Making packing (and unpacking) fun
Depending on the age of your kids, you can: make up silly packing songs (Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to pack we go!), have them decorate the boxes, give them fun incentives for every box they pack, and even hide treats in different boxes to make unpacking even more enjoyable.
3. Pack their room last
This makes sure that they have a familiar place to retreat to if they are stressed (or you are) while the moving is happening. Leave their favourite blanket or stuffed animal out until the last minute so they have something that comforts them.
4. Get them familiar with the new neighbourhood early
As soon as you purchase your new home, start going on little road trips to the new neighbourhood to familiarize your kids with their new environment. Take them to the local park; explore what restaurants nearby might have their favourite foods. Make it not only exciting to go to the new house, but make their new surroundings feel comfortable early on. Ask them if they remember where to turn to get to the new house. Point out landmarks. Help them see the new area as familiar.
5. Let them design their new room
Now, obviously, this has some age and ability requirements, but most kids can at least be partially in charge of their new room. You can spend time before the move helping them plan their new layout and even help draw it out. There are also computer programs and games, like The Sims, that will give them a chance to play with the layout and get excited about their new space.
The earlier you start planning and organizing your move, the smoother it will go, and the more relaxed your kids will be with the change. Make it fun and exciting, and that’s how they will see it. But, leave room for them to feel sad as well. Change can be confusing. Especially for kids.