Moving is hard on everyone, and that goes double for the little ones in your family. For kids, moving doesn’t just feel like switching houses or even cities; it’s a complete uproot that washes away the familiarity they find comfort in. Indeed, managing your child’s mental well-being during a move can feel like taking the wrong step through an emotional minefield if you approach it the wrong way. Thankfully, you’ve got us. Here are the dos and don’ts of moving with kids.
Don’t Withhold Your Reasons for Moving
Not telling your child why the family must move might feel like you’re doing them a favor. You’re protecting them from undue excess stress, you’ll think. But that isn’t the case. Instead…
Do Communicate Openly with Your Children about the Move
Be as open with your kids as you can before and during the move! Hold a family meeting and explain why you’re moving. Let them ask questions and answer them as honestly as you can. Change tends to cause a lot of worry from kids and having an open dialog can help them work through that fear and anxiety.
Don’t Put Too Many Responsibilities on Your Kid’s Shoulder
The extra hands might make packing sound a lot easier, but the truth is your child is more likely to slow the process down – especially if they’re younger. Even when it’s their own room, you’re likely better off packing it up yourself while finding another way to occupy your kid. That being said…
Do Get Your Kids a Little Involved
Expecting your little one to box up their entire room is probably a bit much, but they can certainly help in many other ways. Enlist their services to help run a yard sale. Get their input on new furnishings. Let them pick the color to paint one of the rooms in the new house. Any little bit of input they provide helps them feel a little more in control during a hectic time.
Don’t Take Time for Granted
In the spirit of being open with your child, tell them about the move with ample lead-up time (if possible, of course). You might think springing it on them at the last minute will help them – after all, they can’t stress if they don’t have time to, right? Wrong! You’re denying them a chance to process this sudden and massive change.
Do Use Time to Your Advantage
If you have a lot of time before the move date, maximize it! Talk to your kids about the new city you’re moving to, show them pictures of (or visit if possible) their new home, tour their new school, and preview the new attractions they’ll get to explore. Also use the time to let your kid say goodbye by hosting a going away party with their friends from school and the neighborhood.
Don’t Push Your Kids Too Much After the Move
After the move, don’t be surprised if your child acts differently than usual. Older kids may take a little longer to meet new friends, while younger kids might regress a bit in terms of development. All of this is normal, and you shouldn’t push them too hard to rush into their new life. Instead…
Do Give Them Time to Adjust at Their Own Pace
Your kids are humans. They need time to adjust to their new home, new school, new faces, and more. Encourage them, of course, but don’t overdo it. Your children will acclimate to things at their own pace, and you’re letting them build their confidence by allowing them to face it on their own terms.