Whether across the country or just across town, moving is a big adjustment for everyone in the family. Children, in particular, can feel overwhelmed and uprooted because they are rarely in control of the decision to change homes, neighborhoods, or schools.
Here are some tips to help parents support their kids through the transition.
Talk It Over
As early as possible, start preparing your child for the move by letting them know where, when, and why you are making the move. Let them know you understand that this may be upsetting or scary to them, but it is also an exciting and a fun adventure you will do together. Give them the opportunity to talk through their feelings and make sure that know they have permission to be sad, angry, excited, or scared, sometimes all at the same time!
Take a Tour
When house hunting try to involve kids as much as possible.This will help them feel a part of the decision. Let them tour possible homes with you and give their opinions. If this is not possible, let be a part of the decisions after you have it narrowed down to a few contenders. Give them the chance to pick their bedroom and play spaces. Some kids may enjoy decorating or adding new pieces to their room while others prefer keeping the familiar things from the previous home.
Once the move is complete, it is important to maintain similar routines as the previous house. This will help kids feel safer in their new environment. Parents should also be aware that regression in potty training, behavior, and sleep are totally normal for kids to go through when they are experiencing significant transitions in their lives. Try to be consistent and patient while they adjust to their new surroundings.
One of the most positive things about moving is the opportunity to make new friends. Parents can make moving easier by helping their kids meet new people. Host a playdate, get involved in sports or other activities, take a plate of cookies to the neighbors, and introduce yourself to other families at the neighborhood park. It can be hard for kids (and parents) to step out of their comfort zone but once you have made some friends and acquaintances it is easier to feel at home in a new place. Parents should also encourage their children to continue friendships from their previous home as much as possible. Just because there is more distance between friends does not mean the relationship has to end.
Moving is a challenge not just for the kids but for the parents too. Try to set an example for your kids by acknowledging sad feelings while keeping a positive attitude and embracing your new neighborhood. It can also help to explain that while the place you live may change, the important things won’t – your family will be together and you will always love each other no matter where you live.