Moving homes can be stressful for you—all that packing, and the hundreds of logistical problems that wait for you in your new neighborhood, like reconnecting your Internet. But it’s even harder for your kids. They’ll miss their old friends and are scared of adjusting to a new environment. Here’s how to turn it into a fun adventure for the whole family.
What your kids feel
Kids feel helpless when they find out they’re moving homes, since this is a decision that you, as parents, have to make. The trick is to get them involved in the other smaller decisions. This helps them regain a sense of control and can even get them excited about the move.
Make a wishlist
If you know you’re moving to another state but haven’t found a house yet, ask the kids what their wishlist would be. ‘Near a park’ or ‘a bigger backyard’ could be some items on their list. If you’ve already chosen a home, you could get them involved in decorating their rooms (let them pick paint swatches, or think of a theme).
Give your child his own treasure box
Give young kids their own packing box. They can decorate it with stickers or paint! This is where they can put all their favorite things.
Allow goodbye rituals
It’s easier for kids to let go if they’re given a chance to say goodbye. Throw a goodbye party, and pass around a scrapbook where everyone can write goodbye messages. Ask guests to bring copies of their favorite photos to stick on it. And, of course, collect email addresses and other contact information.
Also have one last drive around the neighborhood to visit favorite haunts. Take pictures and even do a small ritual, like carving their names on the bark of an old tree, or planting a seed in their favorite playground, so they feel that they leave something behind,
Show them pictures of their new home
This gives them a concrete idea of what to expect, and may even get them excited. ‘Hey, that tree in the backyard is perfect for a swing!’ or ‘There are kids your age who live across the street.’
Research on the new community
Also surf the web for more information on the new area: historical tidbits, tourist spots, nearby restaurants, clubs they can join. They’ll have something to look forward to, and may even be less afraid when they see that they can still continue old routines. ‘Hey, your school’s got a really good drama club, maybe you can try out!’
Watch fro signs of stress
Kids have a harder time expressing fear and dealing with stress. Read the American Psychological Association’s article on identfying signs of stress among teens and kids so you can help them adjust to the changes.
Photo from suzyhausfrau.blogspot.com