Getting kids on board with moving to a new city or even a new neighborhood can definitely be a hard sell. Although they don’t have much choice in the matter since they’re dependent on you, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be happy about the prospect of giving up their bedroom, their home, and the familiar faces and places that have populated their lives up to this point. They may be angry and resentful about their total lack of control over the situation. Or they might be sad about leaving their friends behind. Many will be fearful of the change, and the majority will suffer some anxiety related to the upheaval. Hey, kids thrive on stability and there’s nothing less secure than moving away from the family home. So you’re certainly going to want to take pains to help your children adjust after this major upset. And here are a few tips to help them embrace their new neighborhood.
- Scout the area. When you first settle into a new neighborhood, exploring can provide a fun diversion for kids that are miffed about the move. Start by walking around to find out what kind of recreation might be had in the way of nearby parks, hiking trails, and so on. Then broaden your search to include cool breakfast spots, kitschy craft stores, and entertainment options like movie theaters or a climbing gym, depending on what your kids are into. Getting to know the area is the first step to getting comfortable in a new setting.
- Meet the neighbors. Don’t wait for the neighbors to welcome you in with trays of baked goods on your doorstep. Instead, think about hosting a dinner party or barbecue and inviting everyone on your block as an ice-breaker. You’ll show your hospitality and get to meet all of your new neighbors. As a bonus, you’ll find out which houses have kids that are in the same age range as yours, potentially helping them to form instant friendships in order to make their transition a little more tenable.
- Check out local attractions. Every city and town have some points of interest for touristy types, and as a new resident, you should definitely check them out. This could mean a visit to the world’s largest frying pan, a day at the local museum, or a trolley tour that covers historical points in town. This is a great way to get to know your local environs.
- Give them a safe place. If your kids want to mourn the loss of their old life or simply mope around for a while, you should probably give them some time to come around. The best way to do this is by setting up a nest where they can nurse their wounds and recover from the trauma of moving. So help them to finish their bedrooms with paint and accessories they pick themselves. Or set up a cozy den where they can escape to read or take a nap. Giving kids time and space to process is important when you yank the rug out from under them.
- Involve them in the process. Before you settle on a home to move into, think about taking your kids with you to view your top picks. When you involve them in the process of selecting their new home you’re giving them some control, which could help to get them excited about the prospect of moving. Make sure to play up the fact that they’ll get a new room, that there are tons of parks nearby to play at, and that the neighborhood is full of kids that will become their new friends. Whether you’re seeking Los Angeles, Minneapolis, or Philadelphia homes for sale when you move, getting your kids comfortable with the process could be as simple as giving them a voice and a vote.
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