Moving can cause both excitement and stress in children. Some look forward to the move while others fear it. While leaving the old for the new is not always easy, you can try to make moving day as painless as possible with these helpful tips.
Be honest with your kids about moving. Stay positive but consider their feelings. Kids frequently become fearful or rebel because they are losing everything familiar to them, including friends. Answer their questions directly and completely. If the kids get upset, give them time to work through their emotions before continuing the discussion. Otherwise, they won't be calm enough to listen to any good points you make about moving. Be especially patient if the move has come about as the result of a bad situation, such as divorce or foreclosure of a home.
Make sure your kids have plenty of packing supplies, and set packing goals. Have them pack a certain number of boxes per week. Take time out for small rewards when they accomplish the packing goals. Have them set one or two boxes aside and label these "first day" boxes, along with their names on the outside. Pack these boxes with things they feel they will need right away when they get to the new place. For smaller children, this might include a couple of favorite toys or a special blanket or pillow. Teens might choose favorite CDs, a CD player or anything else that will help them feel more at home the first night in the new house.
Check Things Out
If the move is to a nearby area, take your kids there to check it out. Show them the house or at least a picture if you cannot go inside yet. Repeat the process for school. If school is in session, try to meet your child's new teacher. Tour the neighborhood, pointing out areas of interest, such as playgrounds and the library. Look for places for special activities, such as parks for skateboarding. If there is a park near your new home, treat the kids to a picnic at the park and let them explore. The more they know about their new neighborhood, the better they will feel.
Allow older children to help with the actual move. This will foster feelings of family teamwork. Arrange for child care for very young children while actually moving. This will save time, as you can keep working. In addition, it will keep the youngest ones safe from possible bumps or moving accidents during an extremely busy time. Once you have moved everything, set the kids' rooms up first. This will provide them with a space that makes them feel safe as they get used to their new home. Watch for any signs that a child is having difficulty adjusting to the move, such as loss of appetite or becoming withdrawn. In general, however, children adapt well to moves.