Moving can be stressful for everyone. I know this first-hand since we have moved more times than I like to remember. It never got easier even will all or our moving experience. It can be even more unsettling for kids. You can, however, do a lot to calm them with good preparation. Here are four ways to help kids settle into a new home.
Try to move straight into your permanent new home
There are basically two approaches to moving homes. One is to buy or rent a new home first and then sort out selling your old one. The other is to sell your old home and then find a new one. If you don’t have kids then the second option can be the smartest because it avoids you having to carry two mortgages.
When you do have kids, however, then the first option is often best as it minimizes stress and disruption. In particular, it avoids the need for the family to rent a home if the old property is sold before a new one is found.
Get your kids familiar with the basics of the move
What this means in practice will depend partly on their age and partly on how far you are moving. Essentially, your end goal is to give them the feeling that they’re moving to somewhere they already know to some extent. The better they feel they know the place, the less they’re likely to worry about the move.
Ideally, you’ll have them visit it in person before the big day. We did this by letting them select their own bedrooms and pick out some new big items for them. At the very least, you should make sure that they have age-appropriate information about it. If possible, get them involved in the move. For example, get their feedback on the choice of a new home or at least give them some involvement in choosing the decor for it. My kids loved helping with these decisions and even got to pick out the paint colors they wanted (with some guidance of course).
Keep your kids’ favorite belongings with them during the move
When you’re organizing a family move, the easiest option by far is generally to enlist the help of a reputable company like SMARTBOX Solutions, Inc. That’s usually the low-hassle way to take care of the majority of your belongings.
Even as an adult, however, you’re probably going to have some precious, personal items you want to keep with you during the move. I have many personal items that evoke the memories we’ve made together.
Respect the fact that your children will have their own precious items. These may look like junk to you but they will be important to them. Allow them to keep their most important treasures with them during the move.
Also, keep an “essentials pack” with you during the move. This is basically an “indoor camping” pack. In other words, it’s everything to keep you going over your first few days. This allows you to focus on settling in without having to rush around picking up essential supplies.
Give your kids the chance to say goodbye
Even if you’re only making a short move, your kids will probably benefit from getting closure on their relationship with your current home and everything associated with it. Let them own their feelings, whatever they are.
In particular, if they’re still feeling apprehensive (or worse) about the move, recognize their right to have those feelings even if you disagree with them. At the same time, keep doing as much as you can to guide them towards seeing the positive side of the move.