Have you been considering making a move with children? There are some tips to ease the transition and help curve the anxiety.
1. Share your emotions. Let them know that you are probably feeling the same emotions that they are such as sadness, excitement, anxiousness, curiosity, frustration, etc. Moving brings up all kinds of emotions regardless of the situation. You can have them draw pictures or write in a journal about their feelings.
2. Include them in the process. Let them feel like their opinion matters. Maybe ask them if they could pick three things that are important to them in the new home and you will try to include one. Often children fight because they feel like they have no control- this allows them to be a part of a huge life decision. Many children get excited about looking at homes online with parents. When packing, let them draw on their boxes so you know which room to put them in.
3. Prep them for the move. Don’t just spring it on them. Start hinting that it may happen one day and then build that up. Let them prepare in their minds and have time to adjust mentally to such a big change.
4. Set up Pen Pals– Depending on their age, have your children bring in a notebook and collect friend’s names, addresses and phone numbers. They can send stickers, notes, and updates to their friends and hopefully get some back from their friends in the old location.
5. Enjoy a Disposable Camera Day! Buy one disposable camera per child and take a walk or drive around the neighborhood. Let them use their camera and pick some favorite places or things that they want to remember. As the days wind down, take lots of photos of them with their friends also and make a photo album to help them remember when they are feeling homesick.
6. Research New and Exciting Places– Look up some of the unique and fun places that they may want to visit when you do move. Maybe let them create a To Do List of Exploring for the new neighborhood.
7. Sign up for Programs/Activities. Once you move, sign the children up for different camps, programs, sports, activities so they can make some new friends quickly and start having familiar faces at school.
8. Surprise them. Try to come up with one fun new treat to greet them at the new home. Maybe it is an updated bedroom in their style or maybe new bikes or a new playset. Or load up the backyard with bouncy balls, bubbles, chalk and sprinkler fun. Picking something that adds a little more excitement or helps them make new friends is ideal.
9. Take walks. Once you move, go out with the children and take walks. This is a great way to meet new people in an easy setting. Let them know that you just moved in and try to learn about your neighbors.
10. Set up playdates. If you are within an hour or two of your old home, try to schedule a meet up at a local park or pool and invite all of their old friends for a reunion. Try to set up playdates at the new home too. This is a great way to really get some new bonding time and make new friends. Once they start making new friends they will be thankful for the move and hopefully will continue to be Pen Pals with their old friends and keep those relationships going as well.
Moving can be a tough adjustment on the whole family but it can also be a fun experience that you can do together. With the right attitude, it is a great learning tool for your children and shows that home is where your heart is. Your heart of course being your family.