Any big change in life is inherently stressful. Changing jobs. Getting married or divorced. A big swing in your financial situation. They all take adjustment. But one of the most stressful changes can be a large, long distance move. Let’s be honest, moving is a nightmare, and your kids can be especially affected.
They’re leaving behind the home you’ve all created together, which could very well be the only home they know. They’re changing schools, having to meet new friends, and maybe even adapting to much different weather. Your kids may approach the move with excitement, apprehension or sadness, but whatever their feeling about things, there’s a lot you can do as their parent to help them adjust. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you’re preparing for, and recovering from a big move.
First off, try to situated in your new neighborhood before your move if at all possible. There will be so much that’s unfamiliar to your child when you get there, and if you’re just as clueless about the new area it will create even more concern for your little one. Once you have your grounding in the new location, you’ll be able to show your child all the reasons you moved there, including introducing them to their new school, and they’ll certainly feel your excitement. Then before you move, think about ways you can create closure in the old home with a bit of fun. Consider having a going away party, and let your kids invite all their friends. You can set up a book that they all sign, putting their contact information in the same place so your kids know it’s not a forever goodbye, and their old friends are just a phone call or text message away.
Once you arrive, have your kids help unload some of their favorite things from the moving truck. They’ll immediately start to feel more comfortable if they have their version of the ‘security blanket’, whatever that may be, easily available their first night in the new house. So pack a special box of their favorite things, and make sure it’s close to the back of the truck. They can pull that down early in the move, and start getting their room set up right away. One great idea is to make sure that box has one of their favorite posters or pictures, so you can immediately put something familiar up on their wall. If you already have friends and family in your new neighborhood, invite them over to help get you settled in. Your kids will love seeing the familiar faces, and they might even bring along a few new friends they could meet.
Once you’re unpacked enough to get by on a daily basis, get your kids involved in the community. Put them into a sports league or some other recreational program, so they can immediately begin meeting new kids. Once they see that they’ll be able to meet people and make new friends, they won’t be as anxious about all the friends they left behind. And when they’ve made a friend or two, have a housewarming party and invite the new friends over. You want your child to understand that life will go on, and that while they may be sad about what they left behind, it’s an opportunity for great new experiences.
Finally, make sure you let your child’s imagination run free when it comes to decorating their bedroom. The real estate agent may have shown you rooms with neutral colors and clean lines, but if they want to do something crazy with color, let them. You can always change it later, but the sooner they feel like the new house is really and truly their home, the less drama you’ll face.
Carol Montrose is a contributing writer for My Online Estate Agent, where you can purchase or list a home. My Online Estate Agent is a recognised RightMove partner.