Moving with kids to a new home in a new city might sound like a huge adventure, but this new adventure comes with huge changes too, especially if you have kids. As adults, we can bare changes in the easiest way because our own adulthood and experience help us to understand and face new challenges.
For kids, the scenario is different, they probably know something is happening but they might not understand why it’s happening. When it comes to moving across the country with children, there is no in-between, they either will love it or hate it; the good thing is most of their perception of the change will be up to you as a parent.
According to Kids Health, during times of transition, a parent’s moods and attitudes can greatly affect kids, who may be looking for reassurance. So the best thing you can do is maintain a positive attitude around the changes that you are facing as a family.
Empathy is an essential factor as well, as adults, we focus on what we think are the “real” problems and underestimate the feelings of the little ones. Remember this is a disruptive situation for them too: they are leaving friends, teachers, and school, what they know as home; so try to show empathy and be supportive to your kids.
To make of the moving process a friendly situation for your children, we recommend you to follow these tips:
In an article of the Child Mind Institute, they explain that most parents wait until the last minute to tell their kids about the moving when they should be doing that even before to prepare to relocate. Tell your children what the move will be like, the challenges you will be facing. Dr. Jamie Howard, director of the Stress and Resilience Program at Child Mind and former clinical fellow with the Center for Returning Veterans, VA Boston Healthcare System says “it’s much easier to deal with something that’s expected than it is to be shocked and unprepared for a stressor.”
Involve your children in the process
“One of the things that troubles kids most during the move is that they don’t have any control over their environment,” says Jacey Eckhart, a military sociologist who is the Director of Spouse and Family Programs at Military.com. Making them part of the moving can be exciting for them, they will feel useful and like they have control over the assigned tasks.
Ask them for help to pack their own belongings, make fun labeling with them, add some stickers and colorful tapes so they can decorate their boxes. Run a yard sale together, ask them for their opinion when visiting possible new homes, choose the colors of the walls together; the key is to give them a little of “control” over the whole situation.
Add excited details
Encourage their excitement focusing on the positive things of moving across to the country. Tell them that this is a new adventure and they will have so much to discover like new friends, new school, new parks, etc. You can have a surprise gift waiting for them at the new house to give them a special welcome, or even pack surprise items in their moving boxes.
Keep your old routine up
In a long-distance move with kids, where the disruption is big the best thing you can do is minimize the change by maintaining your old routine to keep things familiar for them and reduce the stress.
You can try to set their bedroom furniture in the same arrangement it was at the old house, but the most important thing is to keep up with your traditions as a family like familiar breakfast, meal times, recreational activities, etc.
When moving with kids, organization can save your life from stressful situations. Look for possible stressors and plan solutions for them before they happen. Even though this is an overwhelming process, kids adapt fast, so in a blink of an eye, they will be more than happy in their new home!