Moving boxes can be scary for younger kids. It’s the most obvious signal that something is about to change. Their favorite clothes might be harder to find, and you and your partner might have been spending a lot of time on the phone. People that they don’t recognize are coming and going from the house to look at it and take things away. It’s important to take appropriate steps to prepare them for the move and make the transition easier. Here are a few ideas to help your kids with a move.
Encourage them to Share their Feelings
Children all have different ways of responding to stress. Some are chatty, while others can become closed off. If your kids are having a hard time telling you how they feel about the move, take a different approach. Creative expression is a huge source of stress relief. Play games together: act out what’s happening through pantomime, or draw pictures together that show your family and your new home.
Explain Why You’re Moving
No matter how old kids are, they deserve to know the truth. Tell your children clear reasons why you’re moving so they can better understand what’s going on. For example, you can tell them that Mommy found a new job, or that there’s a better school in the new town. You could even turn the reasons into a little fairy tale to make the conversation more fun.
Pack Toys Last
In the days leading up to the move itself, more and more of your household will be packed away. Save toys and other special belongings for the final boxes. That way, your children will still have things to play with whenever there’s downtime. It also keeps them occupied while you and your partner are extra busy with directing the movers and packing your own things. If you hired a professional moving company, make sure to instruct them to leave some items unpacked so your kids still have something of theirs close by.
Visit the City If Possible
Give your children a clear visual reference for the new place. Visit it if you can so they can start to get a feel for where you’re going and become more comfortable with the idea. For cross-country and international moves, this will obviously be more difficult. Try using the “street view” function of Google Maps, or even rent a documentary as a substitute.
With the right touch, a big move can actually become a big bonding experience. Your kids will have the opportunity to explore a different location and grow up in exciting ways as a result.