Moving can be tough on everyone, but kids may feel especially challenged and uprooted when leaving familiar places. That’s one reason families with school age children try to settle into a new home in the summer. But circumstances often dictate the timing of a move.
Regardless of when you move, preparation can go a long way to ease the children’s pre-move anxiety and help smooth the transition. These tips from Realtor.com will help calm the feelings of chaos.
Tell the kids well ahead of moving time
As soon as the move is definite, tell the kids. Share details behind the move and the advantages the new location offers for the whole family. Point out specific benefits for each child. Reassure them that their things go with them and there will be plenty of time to say goodbye to friends.
Give them fun tasks to do
Packing is a task not well suited for young kids. With very young kids, it’s usually best to do most of the packing when they are not home. But be sure to let them know that it is packing day so they aren’t surprised when they return. Older kids can help pack their room or pick favorite items to pack. Whether young or old, let them get creative decorating the boxes with markers and stickers.
Stick to routines
Throughout the process, adhere to your children’s schedule. Stick to nap and family routines such as family meals or activities.
Keep everyone’s must-haves accessible
Children have certain items they want to keep close at hand – a toy, a snuggly or a musical instrument. Let the kids pack these items and a suitcase or box that will go in the car rather than on the moving truck.
Help them get excited by picking a paint color
Getting children involved in decorating their new room gives a sense of having some control. Thinking and planning positively about their new room and home helps develop a sense of promise of new surroundings.
Highlight fun activities in the new neighborhood
Illustrate the positives of your new community by focusing on attractions they love. Print a map and help them identify parks, movie theaters and ice cream shops. They could even color the map and make a plan for new adventures.
Say farewell properly
Encourage your child to take pictures of everything that’s important to them – from their room to their friends. These days, kids photograph a lot and post on their social media channels. Suggest they go a step further and make a memory book, which can help alleviate feelings of loss. Host a farewell party to enable a sense of cloture.
Get them involved in a team sport or activity in the new community
Team sports are fertile ground for meeting new friends. Any group activity will work, whether soccer, chess club or choral music.
Make new friends and keep the old
Set up play dates and go to the park and library to meet new kids and families. There’s even an app – MomCo– that helps you meet parent with same-aged kids nearby.
Often the hardest part of a move is leaving friends behind. Encourage your child to stay connected with their old friends.
You can read more tips at realtor.com/advice/move/kids-sad-about-moving.
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at email@example.com, call 303.441.5620, or visit boulderco.com.