Tips to Help Children Adjust to Moving
There are lots of ways parents can help kids cope with moving to a new home, city, or state. Reading opens up a conversation about feelings, like anxiety and worry, and while providing parents an opportunity to address a child's insecurities. Keep in mind that the adjustment will not be easy and may require a multi-pronged approach over a period of several months. Here are some additional pointers that have been beneficial for other families with young children who have moved.
Tip 1: Invite Your Child to Come Along When You House Hunt
Take children along when you look for a new home. Point out all the fun features of a new house, like a swimming pool or a finished basement. Drive around the neighborhood and point out kids playing or riding bikes outside. Ask for your child's honest opinion about the house and listen to what they have to say about it. Encourage a balanced discussion about all the pros and cons. If children feel included in this part of the process, they will have at least a small sense of control and voice in the transition. Reading children's books about moving help open conversations about all the exciting changes that lie ahead.
Tip 2: Meet Some New People Before the Move
A great idea is to reach out to some parents in the area over social media and arrange some meet-ups ahead of the move, if at all possible. Join a Facebook page for your new neighborhood and connect with people who have kids close in age to your own. If your children have a few acquaintances before they start at a new school, they will feel more confident. Another idea is to sign up for summer camps near the new neighborhood so your child can meet some friends before the school year begins.
Tip 3: Tour the New School Before the First Day
One of the biggest anxieties children have to overcome involves navigating a new school building. Arrange a tour of the school ahead of time and find some good first day of school stories to help prepare a little one for a new start. Let your child visit a classroom, find the cafeteria, explore the library, and visit the gymnasium. Having just a bit of familiarity will make the first day so much easier on your child.
Tip 4: Explore the New Town, Eat at a Restaurant, and Visit a Park
Find a fun, new restaurant, walk through a nearby park, and do a little shopping around town. Go on a family bike ride to explore the neighborhood and discover new places. Enjoy some quality time as a family in this new place. Talk about all the ways the new town is similar, and perhaps even better, than the one you are leaving. If parents have a positive outlook on the move, their kids will eventually come around and maybe even get excited themselves.
Tip 5: Be Transparent About Why the Move is Necessary
Depending on the age and maturity of the child, transparency about why the move is required may help. Kids are oftentimes more capable of understanding real life pressures faced by parents. If a parent loses a job and must relocate to find work, it's can be important to share this information. Also, if a financial event occurs requiring a family to downsize or move to a less expensive zip code, kids may benefit from hearing the truth about money. Equally important, if a parent has a great career opportunity in a new city, this event should be celebrated as a family.
Tip 6: Bring a Sense of Closure with a Going Away Party
Moving to a new home is a big milestone for a young child. Getting ready to move requires a lot of physical labor, but it's just as important to prepare your child mentally. Throwing a party with some special friends and neighbors is a great way to mark this event. It gives your child an opportunity to say "see you later" and sets a positive tone for the move. Make the party fun, upbeat, and celebratory. Ending this time in the current home on a positive note will set the stage for an easy transition.
Tip 7: Time for a Bedroom Makeover
A wonderful way to create some positive energy around the move is by designing a special bedroom for your child in the new house. This may be complete makeover involving new furniture, lighting and accessories. Or, you may simply paint the walls a new color, arrange the furniture differently, and supplementing with a few new accessories. Make sure to maintain some degree of familiarity, like keeping the bedding the same, so that the room still feels like home.