How to Make Moving Easier on Your Kids
Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.
Moving can be an overwhelming time for kids of all ages. Young children might struggle with the adjustments that come with a new home and new city. Older kids will be sad to say goodbye to their friends and school. Fortunately, some excitement comes with moving too, as kids look forward to their next adventure, filled with a new home, new school, and new friends. Managing your child’s big emotions and helping them enter this next phase courageously can make moving easier on your kids.
Follow these tips to make this difficult time easier on kids of all ages.
Communicate Early and Often
Communication is key when you’re moving because your kids are going to have lots of questions. First, the kids are going to want to know why your family is moving. A new job opportunity or divorce, for example, might be the impetus behind your move. Answer these questions honestly, and then tailor your communication about moving to suit your child’s age. Every age range requires a different level of information, conveyed in language and concepts they can understand.
Toddlers and Preschoolers
Young children might not be able to grasp the magnitude of your move, so keep things simple. Explain where you will be moving, perhaps with the help of a book or show about moving that can help explain what’s happening. During this time, minimize the number of changes for your youngster. Avoid potty training or sleep training in a new bed right now. Give them something to look forward to during the move by investing in a new toy like an activity table or basketball hoop.
Older children are going to have more questions about the move because they are going to better understand what’s happening. To ease their trepidation, keep them involved in the moving process. They can help with house-hunting, picking out their potential room at any house you tour. Ask for their input on decorating their room or setting up the backyard for playtime. Identify ways they can stay connected to old friends, whether they’re exchanging emails or video chatting. Finally, make the transition easier by connecting to your new community. Get out and meet the neighbors and sign the kids up for sports leagues and extracurricular activities to simplify the sometimes daunting process of making new friends.
Teenagers might struggle most with the move because they’ve developed a social network that they won’t be ready to leave. Since teens will be able to understand the move best, be upfront with them as soon as you’ve made the decision. They will likely have a range of emotions as you approach the move. Validate these feelings, and encourage your teen to talk openly about it. As you begin to plan for your move, involve your teen in the major decision-making. Sit down and discuss a list of must-haves they’d like in their new home, whether that’s a bigger bedroom or a basketball hoop in the driveway. Finding a home that offers these features can go a long way in making your teen feel comfortable in your new home.
Ease Moving-Related Anxiety
In the months surrounding your move, keep an eye out for signs of anxiety in your child. Help ease any anxiety by highlighting the reasons for your move and the positive features of your new home and community. If you notice any of these signs of depression of anxiety, contact a healthcare provider:
- Overwhelming sadness
- Poor sleeping and eating habits
- Loss of interest in daily life
- Lack of energy
- Poor concentration
Moving can be an exciting time for your family, but it can also be an anxious time for kids of all ages. Open communication, family decision-making, and a few trips to your new community can help ease their concerns.
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