Planning a Move with Children
Whether you’re making a move across town, to a new city, or to a whole new state, moving is difficult—especially for children. To make the transition as smooth and painless as possible, the key is planning. You not only need to plan how the entire move will go, but you will also need to plan how to address the move with your children. I’ve always felt open communication and involvement helps make the move easier on children. Here are a few things that have worked for my family in the past:
- Get the kids involved in the move by allowing them to help pack their toys and clothes, writing the contents on the boxes, and picking out a few items to hold back for the trip and a transition period.
- If you have photos or have visited the kids’ new bedrooms, ask them to draw a picture of how they will arrange and decorate their new room. You could even help make a floor plan.
- Write the date of the move on a calendar, as well as the date you need to start packing so your kids can grasp when everything is happening.
- Regardless of the reason for the move, the parent needs to maintain a positive attitude. A parent’s mood and attitude can greatly affect their children.
- Maintain an open line of communication regarding the move. Give them as much information about the move as possible. Answer questions completely and truthfully, but keep it simple for young children.
- If possible, visit the new town where you’ll be moving, explore neighborhoods, and visit the new house if you can. If you can’t visit before the move, use the internet to learn as much as possible and see if the realtor can send photos of the new house.
- If possible, start the process of having your child join a sports team or dance studio (if geographically feasible) before the move. You might have to do a little driving, but that way they can establish some friendships prior to the move which will have them feel more comfortable about the move. Alternately (if the new location is too far), get the ball rolling by looking up local sports teams, dance studios, etc. along with your child and start the sign up process so they can see that they’ll be able to continue their favorite activities.
- Plan a going-away party for the kids with their help so they can create some lasting memories from the old home. Buy a T-shirt or stuffed animal for your child and ask their friends to sign it or write a special message on it. Be sure to have a special address book at the party where friends can write down their contact information. You can go a step further and give the friends a goodie bag with your new address and some stamped envelopes for the friends to write your kids.
Good luck and Happy Parenting,
Daddy Nickell is a parenting expert, father of 7, and founder of Daddy & Co. and the Daily Daddy Blog.