Let’s face it: moving is stressful for everyone involved and sometimes it’s hardest on the kids. Moving to a new neighborhood or even a new state means leaving your friends, maybe some family, and your familiar territory behind. For parents trying to help their kids make the adjustment, there are a few tips you can do to ease the anxiety. Here are a few of my favorites.
1) Let each child pick their new room and then help them personalize it. Every child has their own personality and this is a great opportunity to let them express that. This will take their mind off leaving their old room and house behind and focus on looking ahead.
2) While everything is still in boxes and disorganized, try camping out in the new house. Set up a tent in the living room, blow up air mattresses, and camp inside the house. This also works on the last night or two in the old house before you leave. Again, try to make the experience fun without focusing on the negative.
3) Explore, explore, and explore. In the first few days of moving, make sure that you make time as a family to explore your new surroundings. Try to find a new favorite pizza place or a new favorite ice cream shop. Make it an adventure or contest to see who can find the most fun places.
4) Routines! Nothing promotes stability and eases anxiety like routines and kids need them. If you have a standard bedtime routine, jump right into it as soon as possible. If you have a standard routine each morning getting ready for school or church on Sundays, make sure you stick with it. This will help the transition maybe more than anything else.
5) Open communication. This should go without saying, but sometimes in the busyness of moving, one can forget to stop and talk about what your child is thinking. If you notice that they have become unusually quiet over the first few days or weeks of the move, then chances are something is going on that you’ll need to address.
Finally, acceptance is the last step in making the transition. As parents, if we are having a hard time accepting the move, then you can bet the children will too. Make sure that you portray acceptance to your children and then help them to feel that way as well.