We all know that moving is stressful. Between coordinating moving trucks to organizing belongings and tracking details (did you submit a change of address form?), it’s easy to get lost in the chaos. As adults, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel: soon, we’ll be settled into a new home, in a new neighborhood, full of exciting opportunities. It’s harder for kids to see the big picture.
Changing homes can be traumatic for kids. For big moves – whether across the state or the country – they’re switching schools, breaking a routine, and maybe even experiencing new weather. It’s important to talk to them well in advance and prepare them for the move. But how can you get them excited about it? Here are some tips for getting your kids revved up about the big move.
Does your new kitchen need a fresh coat of paint? Are you ditching your old couch in favor of shiny new furniture? Let your kids be part of the decision-making! You may be surprised at how much fun they’ll have helping you pick out furniture, fabrics, and colors. And it gives them a sense of control over their new surroundings.
Kids love feeling helpful. So on the day of the move, assign them an important job or let them be your assistant. Let them pack up their toys, carry small boxes into the house, and keep things organized. Younger children may need some extra supervision, but that’s another way to get older kids involved. Create family teams and finish jobs together.
Want to go the extra mile? Print up a to-do list or organization chart for them. With each completed task, they can check it off the list and see their accomplishments pile up.
You’re probably familiar with the sudden dread of being in a new space surrounded by full boxes. It can be daunting to anyone, especially after an exhausting day of moving. Don’t burden your kids with this on top of everything else. Be sure to unpack their rooms first and set up their favorite things – books, toys, or favorite pictures. Get them feeling comfortable in their new room right away, and they’ll feel at home in no time.
Tensions run high on moving day. Siblings fight, parents’ patience goes out the door, and frustration runs rampant. This is the point when moving days can turn disastrous.
Be sure to take breaks between packing, moving, and organizing for some family time. Take a 5-minute group stretch break or grab an ice cream cone together. Anything that helps relieve the tension, get everyone to relax, and have fun. When you’re ready, get back to the tasks at hand.
Once the moving trucks have pulled away, and the last boxes are hopefully in the right room, why not take some time to explore your new neighborhood? Take a family walk around your block. Be on the lookout for parks or community centers close-by, and maybe even stroll past your children’s new school if it’s within walking distance.
By taking the time to introduce your kids to their new neighborhood, they’ll be more comfortable with the change. Maybe you’ll even discover you’re close to a nature center, an arcade, or a cool museum!
Moving doesn’t have to be stressful or traumatic. Prepare your family ahead of time, keep them on task and focused during the move, and settle them in right away after. Not only will the entire process go smoother, but you’ll also have a happier family ready for what lies ahead.
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