10 Tips to Prepare Young Children for a Move
Over the years, several studies have been performed to identify and rank the typical life experiences that induce the greatest amount of stress in the average adult. It certainly doesn’t come as a surprise to someone who has had to make a move that ranks inside the top 10 of the most stressful events. If you add children to the equation, the stress level can only increase.
Tip #1 – Tell your children about the upcoming move as soon as possible.
Waiting for the For Sale sign to appear on your lawn, or wanting your kids to know how to escape from neighbors, would just leave them feeling left out and most likely, frustrated.
Tip #2 – Discuss with your children, in an age-appropriate manner, some of the pros and cons of moving. Most of the children get great comfort from simply being heard, and from being assured that their parents are committed to helping them adjust to a new environment.
Tip #3 – Encourage your children to help you investigate your new community.
Many cities or towns have their website, which they use to advertise and encourage life in their neighborhoods. In addition to providing information on lifestyle, you can also find a list of local services, such as schools, places of worship, fitness facilities, neighborhood sports organizations, and parks. Many of the group places will also provide the closest shopping centers. Malls, movie theaters, and special attractions such as amusement parks, horse stables, and public beaches.
Get Them Involved
Tip#4 – When packing, resist the urge to throw out all of your children’s old, unused toys. Instead, ask your children to help you prepare for packing by separating their toys into three piles. Pile 1 comes with them to the new house. Pile 2 is for donating to a local shelter or community center, and pile 3 is only for those toys that they understand are beyond repair, and for safety sake, should be thrown away.
Allowing your child to decide what to do with his/her worn toys provides them a feeling of control in a situation that is largely out of their control.
Tip #5 – Pack any young children’s belongings last. Allowing them prolonged access to their familiar possessions reduces their anxiety. Ask your children to help you pack some of their things into boxes. Be sure to mention anything that goes into the box will be unpacked in the new home.
Assemble some fun packaging materials; a range of brightly colored or washable markers for writing their names on each of their boxes. A bubble wrap for swaddling their dolls and soft toys, and a collection of stickers to decorate and quickly recognize what’s in each of their boxes.
Tip #6 – Take your children to visit the new home at least once prior to moving day. Be sure to keep the visit short, and upbeat.
Tip #7 – Ask your child if he or she would like to have a moving party.
Invite their friends to enjoy a pizza and movie night. Take some photos of each guest posing with his or her child using an instant camera or digital camera. Keep a copy for your kids, and give each guest a copy to take with them.
Tip #8 – Most kids make new friends at school fairly easily. If your moving date is scheduled after the end of the school year, your child could be facing a long summer break. To prevent your child from feeling lonely, you’re going to have to take action to help him or her make new friends.
Shortly after moving to your new house, ask your neighbors if there are children of the same age nearby. Ask those neighbors who have small children if they are interested in allowing your children to play together at the local park during supervised play dates.
Have a Family Exploring Day
Tip #9 – Once the move has taken place, organize a “family exploring day.”
Let your children help plan an afternoon stroll or a scenic drive through a particular part of your new community. By doing this, you can not only allow your children to get to know themselves with their new environment, but your family can also build fun, fresh memories associated with your new home.
The last tip, Involve your children in deciding how to decorate their new bedrooms.
Even the youngest child should have incorporated some of their ideas into the new design. Whether it’s a big decision like choosing a wall color, or a tiny decision like just selecting the right place for your toy box, giving your child a say helps them enjoy their new room.
Above all, keep the communication lines open before, during, and after the move.
Depending on the child, it can take anywhere from a few days to many months to adjust to their new surroundings.