How to Prepare your kids for a move

Dated: March 9 2021

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Preparing Your Family for a Move


As your family grows and life changes, there will come a time when you’ll need to move into a different home. The moving process can be challenging for parents, but we often don’t discuss how traumatic it can be for their children. To prepare your kids for the change coming their way, here are some tips to help you have a successful, trauma-free move. 


Have an open family dialogue


Deciding to move is typically decided between the parents, so the kids may feel like their feelings aren’t being heard and that this chapter of their life is out of their control. The best way to start is to have an open conversation with the entire family. You’ll want to frame the move as something positive and focus on the great things that will happen once the move takes place. 


Kids are full of questions, so make sure you answer them as truthfully and honestly as you can. If you don’t have the answer, let them know instead of making one up. The scariest part of a move for children is not knowing what will happen. By having an open conversation with them, they’re more likely to feel like their questions and concerns were address, allowing them to feel secure in their emotions. 


Let your kids be part of the process


While it’s not possible to involve your children in every decision, allowing them to be involved when possible will allow them to feel like they’re part of the decisions being made. When the time is right, let your children be part of the house-hunting process. Ask their opinions on the different houses you’re considering and what features they want in their new home. If the move requires starting at a new school, highlight the exciting prospect of making new friends, having new teachers, and learning new things. 


Don’t Discount their Grief


Depending on your children’s age, especially older ones, a move may seem like the end of the world. This especially true for pre-teens and teens. For toddlers and young children, the loss of a beloved babysitter or the change in distance to family members may be overwhelming. Don’t discount their grief. Allow your children to be sad about moving. For many, this may be the only home they’ve ever lived in. As we get older, we know what it’s like to live in different places and how to make it feel like home, but the same can’t be said for your kids. Allowing children to express themselves will help them reach a point where they can accept the move. 


Prioritize Moving Day 

Once you get to your new home on moving day, prioritize setting up your children’s rooms before any other room in the house. By doing this, your children will feel like they have a place that reminds them that this is their new home. Seeing their toys, beds, and clothes gives them a better sense of security. You should also allow your children to help decorate where possible. Let them choose paint colors or a new piece of décor.  Generally, try to involve them in the fun parts of moving. 


Get to know the neighbors 


For kids who grew up with their friends just a few houses down or a couple of streets over, finding new friends to play with is a primary concern. After moving day, bake some cookies and take the children door to door to introduce yourselves. If other children live in the neighborhood, organize a get-to-know-you play date with both the children and their parents at your house. This is a low-stress way to meet people and help the children adjust to their new surroundings. 


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