Moving isn’t easy for anyone, least of all kids. The key to helping them handle the big upheaval, plus the long hours of planning and work that are bound to come, is involving them as valuable family members. Teenagers might communicate why they’re upset, but little ones also have an opinion about life changes, even if they can’t verbalize them.
If a move is in your near future, there might also be a little whining and pouting to contend with. But here are a few ways to help keep the worst of it at bay while helping them understand and deal with this major life event.
Talk About the Move Well in Advance
Imagine how disconnected you’d feel if your spouse came home one day and announced that you’re moving in a week. While adults are the final decision-makers in the family, involving children from the beginning can help them feel included in the move instead of subject to it.
Listen to their concerns, and start the conversation about finding a new place to live. This is a good time to ask them to list what they’d love in a new house. A bigger backyard or the promise of a playroom at the new house could take the edge off pulling up stakes and moving away.
Involve the Kids with Choosing a New Home
Start house hunting online, and ask for opinions from your kids. You might learn about preferences that you didn’t know they had. For example, you might be surprised to learn that your daughter has always wanted a window seat in her bedroom. Or your son might secretly wish for his own bathroom.
Once house-hunting begins in earnest, take the kids along. The more that they have a voice and that their opinions matter, the less likely they’ll be to feel worried and left out.
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Have a Moving Sale (Let Kids Keep Their Cash)
Chances are, you’ll downsize a bit before moving. Things that are broken, outgrown clothes and unwanted toys can either take up valuable space on a moving truck, or they can wind up on a garage sale table and turn into some cash. It’s a good idea to let kids keep the money earned from selling their belongings.
Some families transfer the garage sale loot into the household petty cash jar. But allowing kids to keep money from selling their toys, old clothes, books and other belongings is one more way to help them feel like they’re not just along for the ride.
Visit the New Neighborhood
You’ll probably have concerns about finding your way around the new neighborhood, knowing where to grocery shop and maybe even finding your way to work. Kids have similar concerns. It’s hard to feel comfortable when everything down to the bathroom sink is new and different. So it’s a good idea to visit the new area before you’re officially residents.
While you’re scoping out the best place to fuel up for a morning commute and the local shopping centers, don’t forget to include points of interest for your kids. Try out Pokémon GO at the local park and stop by their new school, library, movie theaters, pizza shops and any other places that are important for kids in their age group.
Turn the Drive into a Mini-Vacation
Traveling doesn’t have to be a mission to accomplish. Moving is already one of the most stressful events in any person’s life, even for kids. If time allows, turn the drive into a mini vacation, lighten up the stress and see some sights along the way.
They’ll probably have plenty of games to keep them occupied on the trip, but also consider giving them an atlas. Yes, the old-fashioned kind. Let them mark the route with a highlighter and then tick off checkpoints along the way. GPS is great, but it doesn’t put the whole trip into perspective the way that a big map in an oversized book can.
Some kids are fortunate enough to stay in the same awesome home from birth until it’s time to head off to college. But most kids will pack up and move with their family at least once, and perhaps many more times than that.
Moves are stressful, and they can bring out the worst in everyone. And without the mature coping mechanisms that adults have, stress can manifest as a temper tantrum or depression. Psychology Today says you should listen. Stay involved with your kids and keep them involved with the move and the whole family will be more likely to settle in and be happy in your brand new home.
If a family move is in your near future, get a free moving quote from Mover Junction today.