How To Help Your Kids Adjust to a Move
Moving is a big deal for everyone, but it is especially tough for young kids. After all, they know where everything is in their home. They may be close with their neighbors and friends.
Whether you and your family are moving across town or across the country, your kids will have to get used to a new school, a new doctor and a new home layout. It is thus not uncommon for children's behavior to change following a move. Toddlers could regress in their development. Slightly older kids may get cranky or clingy. They could also lash out or have trouble sleeping.
To make the transition as smooth as possible for your children, you need to be proactive. Before you even Google "sell my house," you should start helping your kids adjust to the idea of moving. Here are some ways to prepare your young children for a move.
- Talk To Them in Advance
Children need time to adjust to a major change. Do not wait to break the news of the move until the movers are about to arrive. Instead, tell them what is happening as soon as possible. Be honest about the reason for the move, whether that is a new job or the need for more space.
Toddlers may not realize exactly what moving entails. Try using toys or stuffed animals to act out the process. You could also create a video or storybook.
Be sure to emphasize that your kids will be able to take all of their favorite belongings into the new home. You may also want to sit down next to your children so you are talking to them at their level.
- Reassure Them That Their Feelings Are Valid
Once your children hear about the move, they may be sad or upset. Tell them that it is okay to feel this way. Reassure them that you are having mixed emotions about the move, as well. This will help them understand that their feelings are normal.
Then, point out that their lives will not be completely different once they move. Talk to them about the locations they can enjoy in their new neighborhood, such as a park or a playground.
- Show Them the Home
You can even show your children these places by taking them on a tour of their new home. Make the visit a positive experience by introducing them to other kids in the neighborhood. This should make the move feel more like an adventure.
If you are moving to a new state or country, visiting the home ahead of time may not be possible. However, you can still go on a virtual tour of the house. You may also want to set up a Zoom meeting with your children's new teachers. This should help them know what to expect.
- Stick to a Familiar Routine
Children need to see that your comments about things staying the same after the move were accurate. You thus should keep your kids on the same schedules before, during and after the move. That means having your kids eat and sleep at approximately the same times each day.
You may have to sacrifice some unpacking time to make sure your children maintain their traditional bedtime routines. Yet in the long run, they will appreciate the consistency.
Your kids should thus sleep in their own beds every night. Therefore, you should pack up their beddings last and unpack those items first.
Children can be quite sensitive. A big move is thus particularly hard on them. If you follow the above suggestions, your kids should get used to their new environment more quickly.