Moving to a new state is a challenge for everyone. Even adults who are excited about moving to a new city may struggle to adjust. For toddlers, who thrive off routine and consistency, relocating to a new state can be difficult to cope with. Take these four suggestions into consideration to help your little one prepare to welcome their new home with open arms.
Let Them Know Ahead of Time
You might think your 3-year-old doesn’t need to know about the move in advance, but you’d be wrong. Toddlers and preschoolers can greatly benefit from hearing about the move before it occurs. Gently tell them at least a month in advance, and help them prepare for their new state by showing them pictures of the new house, reading kid books about the new state and telling them exciting places they’ll be able to see once they get there.
Children look to their parents as models on how to respond to everything, especially when they’re small. Toddlers will benefit most from a parent who is excited and eager to move. Never bad-mouth the new place or complain about the move around them; make a conscious choice to focus on the positive around them, and talk about all the highlights frequently. Doing so will make you feel better, too.
Let your kids ask questions. Tell them what it means to “sell my house” and what moving entails, like packing bags and getting rid of old stuff; get them involved in packing, and talk about the fun trip they’ll get to take on the way to their new home.
Don’t Scold Regression
It’s not uncommon for young kids to cope with big changes by regressing. A 4-year-old may start wetting the bed, or a 5-year-old could suddenly become extra clingy or speak like a baby. Do not punish or chastise your child if they begin to regress; this is just their way of coping, and it will pass as they become more accommodated to their new environment.
Read Plenty of Books
There are tons of great books about moving that can help kids feel more prepared to relocate. Some titles to check out and read together as a family include:
- “Louis + Bobo: We Are Moving” by Christiane Engel.
- “Big Ernie’s New Home” by Therese Martin.
- “I Like Where I Am” by Jessica Harper.
- “Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move” by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz.
Come Together as a Family
Moving should bring your family closer, and it’s a great time to share your feelings and find comfort in one another’s company. You may be dealing with your own feelings of apprehension and sadness as you prepare to relocate; take time to talk to your partner or loved ones about it so you can be fully present and positive for your kids. Although any uncertainty can be scary, your new home marks the start of a new chapter filled with plenty of wonderful memories.