Moving to a new home can be stressful for everyone, but amidst all the stresses of organizing and overseeing the move, it can be easy to forget that a move can actually be the most stressful for the youngest family members. Though they may not have to deal with the day-to-day stresses of packing and scheduling, they may be struggling to understand exactly what’s happening and how to deal with it. If you’re concerned about how your kids are coping with your upcoming move, here are a few tips that might help you both.
Involve Them in the Conversation
Adults have a tendency to talk about important matters away from children’s ears. They may not think the kids are able to fully understand such things or they simply may not want the distraction that kids can bring into a conversation. But do your best to involve your kids in the conversation about your move as early on as possible.
As soon as you begin to seriously contemplate moving, start talking to your kids about it. Tell them what you’re considering and why you think it’s time to move. Update them as more decisions are made about the details of your move. The sooner you begin talking to your kids about this, the more time they’ll have to process and cope with the changes.
Focus on the Exciting Parts
Your children are naturally going to dwell on thoughts of leaving their friends, changing schools, and saying goodbye to their old home. Try to redirect their attention to the many exciting things about moving to a new house. Show them pictures of the home, or take them to see it in person if that’s possible. Show them their new room and talk about all of the cool new things about your home.
If you’re moving to a new city, sit down together and do some research on your new hometown. Look up fun things to do and see in the area. If you can, try learning about their new school as well so that they can get excited for that change too.
Let Them Feel Sad
As much as you may want your children to feel excited about moving to a new place, remember that it’s natural for them to feel sad about saying goodbye. In fact, you should be having some of those exact same feelings, and if you find yourself pressing them down or ignoring them in order to focus on getting things ready for your move, then this section is just as important for you as it is for your child.
Let your children feel sad about moving. Let them cry about saying goodbye to their friends and express their worries about making new ones. Better yet, face your own feelings of sadness alongside your child. Seeing and hearing that you’re sad to say goodbye to those around you will help your child to know that this is normal and acceptable.
Let Them Have Some Control
One of the most difficult things about moving for children is the feeling that they don’t have any control over what’s happening. After all, you’ve just told them that they have to leave their home and everything they know behind them, and they really don’t have any choice in the matter. This can cause your child to feel lost, frustrated, and perhaps even a little bit angry.
The best way to deal with this is to allow your child to have control over as many things as they can reasonably handle. Many adults tend to usher their children outside or distract them with other things while getting ready for a move so that you can get more things done. This will simply make your child feel even more adrift amid all these changes.
Try letting them have control over some smaller things to help anchor them. Here are a few ideas:
- Packing their room or their toys
- Picking stops on the drive to your new home
- Picking wall colors and décor for their new room
- Packing snacks and toys for the car or plane ride
- Helping younger siblings during the move
- Caring for the family pet during the move
Give your child as many responsibilities as their age and comprehension level will allow. This not only helps them to feel that they have some control over this situation, but also gives them something productive to focus on instead of dwelling on the negative feelings surrounding the move.
If your family is moving, it’s important that you give your children the time and attention they need to help them to cope with this enormous change in their lives. If you feel that you’re too bogged down with the tasks involved with moving, contact us and we’ll help take some of the load off your shoulders so you can give your family the attention they need from you.