Moving With Children
Moving is challenging for anyone, but children can have an especially hard time. Children face many of the same challenges adults face when moving. They too are leaving a lot behind including friends, school and their home.
Children will often feel powerless during a move. The best way to make their transition smoother is to include them in decision making, empowering them in a relocation can help turn a move into an exciting adventure.
Start by having a family meeting and create a ‘wish list’ of what everyone wants in a new home. Write down and discuss each of your child’s requests. Common requests include a large backyard, a playroom in the house, things they would like in their new bedroom, location to parks other things they find fun.
The house hunt is another great opportunity to bond. Include children when you’re looking at prospective houses. Make a list of the houses you’re really interested in and let your kids see the pictures online. Encourage them to use their imagination, talk to them about how they could use their new home and of course talk about their potential new bedroom.
Once you’ve picked a house there’s even more things to involve your kids in. Take you children to the hardware store with you when you’re purchasing supplies. Look a paint swaps together and let them pick out what colours they want their room painted. Maybe you can take them shopping for toys for their new backyard.
It might also be a good idea to throw a going away party for your kids. Allow them to invite their friends, this will turn the negative experience of saying goodbye into a positive one. Work with your children to create a ‘memory board’ or book from the party, fill it with pictures and email addresses of friends. Social media tools such as Facebook may help older children stay connected with old friends.
When moving be sure to put aside things for your child to do during the move. While driving talk about all the new and exciting things your family will be able to do in your new neighbourhood and house. Once you’ve arrived at your new home unpack some of your child’s favourite possessions first. It’s also important to unpack things that will make your new house feel like home. Once you’ve settled in a little it may be a good idea to explore your new neighbourhood and point out all of the exciting new things your family can do.
With any move it’s important to understand the stress children are feeling. Communication and participation are keys to softening this transition.