Moving with children can be difficult. Kids may not understand the reason for the move, or they may have anxieties they don’t know how to verbalize or deal with.
Making your move as smooth as possible (for everyone) will involve reassuring your children that a move is a good thing. This is true whether your child is 5-years-old or 15-years-old.
Another huge help you can provide is keeping traditions and routines consistent before, during, and after the move. Keep familiar toys out and visible. Continue sharing bedtime stories, praying before bed, or anything else your child finds familiar. This will remind them that home is where you are—not where their house is.
One of the best ways you can help your child handle your move is by being honest, openly communicating about how moving might feel. Keeping them informed and following through consistently gives them more peace of mind than you might realize. Also, help them stay positive! Encourage them to be honest about what they’re scared of, but then ask them what they’re excited about. A combination of honesty and anticipation can help them process a new home.
Here’s what you can do to keep your kids excited and positive about the move:
Take the move as an opportunity to show your child that you can keep in touch with old friends, even when you move. Remind them that they’ll have even more friends soon! Show them that a new community is something to be excited about.
Get your child excited about where you’ll be living! Show them photos from the area, pictures of their new room, and talk about what they’ll be able to do in the new house. Regardless of the reason for the move, your child will be reassured from your excitement and positivity about the change in scenery.
Children’s anxiety about moving often centers around new schools. Making them feel safe at school can help them in every other area of their lives. Take time to meet with their new teachers. Tell the teachers about your child’s interests, needs, and things that make them feel comfortable. With a little “righteous conspiracy,” you can reduce your child’s anxiety on the very first day—that’s no small feat.
Your child might feel a little neglected on the day of the move. You’ll be busy organizing and ensuring that your things are in order, so that’s understandable. To keep them feeling secure, make sure you pack them a bag with their favorite toys, books, and other familiar items. If possible, arrange for a sitter as well. The sitter can keep them occupied and feeling cared for while you handle what you need to do.
As an adult with control over your situation, it is easy to take for granted how a move might affect a child. Your kids may be anxious or terrified, and it may come across as sullen or ungrateful. Do not respond to their surface attitude—respond to the underlying cause. Talk to them, hear them out, and validate their concerns.
After hearing them out, assure them that it will be a good thing—this will, more than anything else, help them through a scary new chapter.