How to Prep Your Kids for a Move

Making sure they know what to expect can help prep kids for a move.

Time and again, families face the prospect of moving to a new home.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11.2 percent of Americans moved in a one-year period in 2016. As disruptive as a move can be for parents, the experience is often much more traumatic for children who may not be excited to move, often causing emotional upset and upheaval. This is why not only do you need to practice self care during the time of transition, you also need to prepare your kids and give them special attention during the time leading up to the move and after. Take a look at how you can prepare your kids for a move, take away moving anxieties, and make the process less stressful for everyone.

Get them ready.

It’s not easy to prepare your kids properly, but try to do your best. Prepping your kids can help alleviate some stress. Experts say that how you handle the time leading up to the move has a significant impact on how well your children adapt. For younger children like toddlers and preschoolers, share the news about one month before moving and discuss it with them. This gives your children time to process the information but not mull over the upcoming changes.

If you are selling your home, this is sometimes hard – you can’t always wait to have the conversation. Make sure you tell them more than just what will be different. Explain all the things that will stay the same. Let them know their belongings will be coming along too — the moving company won’t leave them behind. You can even make a book about the house you’re leaving. Your child can take pictures of spots in the house, his school, neighborhood places he loves and his friends. Another great idea is take your child on tours of the spot you plan to move to. Point out the fun spots you’ll visit, like the library, playground, parks and ice cream shop. This will remove some of the mystery about what lies ahead so the kids have less to worry and wonder about.

Embrace their angst.

Your kids may cry and have tantrums – normal responses to the seismic shift that’s taking place in your children’s lives. Your children may even act excited, too. However, always keep in mind how tough some of the losses they experience might be. If the relocation means separating from caregivers, family, and friends, you’ll likely see your kids longing for those beloved people. Encourage your child by explaining you can still see them on Skype or FaceTime. Let them know you can help them write letters.

Give them gumption.

Kids like to feel in control, and moves are often a time when kids have zero input in the decision. Do what you can to find things your children can make decisions about to ease their frustrations. Let your children pick out colors for the bedding and decorations in their new room. Your children can help sort or pack the belongings you will bring along. Do anything you can to give them some power.

Making the move easier on your kids

Relocating the family is both exciting but stressful for both you and your kids. This advice can help dial down the worries so the move goes as smooth as possible. Remember that grieving usually last six months or more, according to experts. While all children accept changes at their own pace, they will fully acclimate to their new home and subsequent changes before you know it.