Moving can be tough on kids. It’s harder for kids than adults because of the lack of control they feel and because they really didn’t have a choice in the decision to move. To help your kids feel more involved so they better understand and adjust to this huge change, you can take the following steps.
Be Open to Questions
Be sure your children know they can ask you anything about the move and you’ll give them an honest answer.
Most kids want to know about their new school, neighborhood, sports teams and city. But they may also have questions you hadn’t thought of, like questions about making new friends or what their new room will look like.
Be honest and open which will help your child feel confident about the move. You may want to ask your child to write down their questions as they think of them, then call a family meeting to discuss each person’s questions. Family meetings are a great way to open up a dialogue between you and your kids. Make it fun and even a regular weekly event. Order pizza, play a game then get down to the move. Make sure everyone is heard and if there are questions you can’t answer, make sure you find out before the next family meeting.
Show Them Their New Space
Give your child a plan for their room. Providing your child with as much information as you can about the new house will help them make some decisions about where to place furniture and what color to paint their walls.
Encourage them to make cut-outs of everything in their room so they can rearrange things before they move in.
Make a Scrapbook
Encourage your child to create a scrapbook of all their memories with addresses and notes from friends, teachers, coaches. Encourage your child to stay in touch, and assure them that their friends are just a mouse-click or phone call away.
Plan a Fun Goodbye
Help your child plan their goodbyes. Some may want a party while others prefer having a few close friends over for a final slumber party. Your child may want a few separate events, for example, one for school friends, one for neighbors and another for the baseball team.
Get them to Help
Give each child a list of things to do, including sorting out their room. Ask them to donate or add to the garage sale items any unused toys or stuff they no longer play with, along with clothing they’ve outgrown.
Show children how to properly pack and label a box, then make a “packing date” where both you both can spend time sorting and packing. Reward “packing dates” with pizza or movie nights.
Help them Pack an Essentials Box
Help your children decide what to pack into an essentials box. You can call it “Moving Fun Kit”. It should include those things your child will need during the move. Encourage them to decorate the box to make it their own. The kit should include games and books to keep them busy on the road. Your child may also want to include their address book or photos of friends. Essentials such as toothbrushes, clothes, etc… can be packed in a suitcase. The survival kit should be all about fun!
Say Goodbye and Make Memories
Make time for saying goodbye to favorite haunts. Is there a special ice-cream shop your kids liked to visit? What about a museum, or park, or swimming pool? Ask your child to make a list, or make a list with the entire family, then set aside time each week to do at least one favorite thing. If you decide to do this as a family, make sure everyone is included. Make a calendar and mark out the days and event/place you’ll go. This will prepare your child for saying goodbye to special places.