Tips to Help Kids on Moving
Moving is stressful for anyone, even when it is a positive change. For kids however, it can be stressful because it is rarely their suggestion or idea to move and they feel powerless.
Here are a few Tips to Help Kids on Moving and to consider preparing children to move that can help minimize their stress. You may not need all of them, but they will help stock your toolbox. For more moving tips, check out this recent post by Julia Weaver.
1. Honor grief
Leaving a house is a loss for everyone. It is important to understand that most kids will be grieving, and parents must let them deal with the stages of grief without trying to force them to be cheerful about the move.
• Denial – The first stage and you may be surprised to hear your child talk and act like the move is not really going to happening. Don’t worry kids will move to the next stage of grief.
• Anger – If or when the anger stage hits, your kids may become mad at the very people they love the most, including you… so try not to take it personally.
• Bargaining – If your child is old enough, you will definitely get this stage: Like You move. I’ll stay here. That may work for some, but not if your child under the age of 10 or younger.
• Depression – This is a delicate stage that comes near the moving date and parents may be low on energy now and make it hard to deal with a lethargic child who may be in tears about moving. However, when moving acceptance finally comes to will eventually make it easier to handle.
• Acceptance – Parents must note acceptance and happiness are not the same, so it does not mean everything will be sunshine and smiles. It means there may be a slow transition day by day to deal with some good days to eventually get to better days.
2. Prepare Kids ahead of time
As soon as you know you are considering a move, let the kids know.
Sharing the reasons and process for the moving decision can help build children’s own ability to make difficult decisions, and learn how to evaluate the pros and cons.
Once the decision is made, prepare them for the move, have a printed timeline on the refrigerator, when the house will be listed for sale, when you will visit the new home or location, things will be packed up, where the family will stay during the transition, when they start their new school, and any other information you can add.
Be honest with your kids and talk these things out ahead of time and before the planned move.
3. Read books about moving
There are some great books about moving written for young readers, both fiction and non-fiction. Stir the Wonder is a good source for learning and books for preschoolers and toddlers. Great Schools has a great list of books and articles about moving.
Get advice from military friends. No one knows about moving and its impact on families like the military family, and they can share lots of great resources.
4. Let the Children make as many choices as possible
Because when kids feel powerless in the situation, letting them make choices helps.
• Let them choose which toys to keep out while the house is being sold.
• Let them choose their new bedroom and new paint color at the new home.
• Let them choose a name for the new house.
• Let them participate in meeting the realtors.
• Allow them to contribute to the list of “new things needed” at the new house.
5. Try to Make Connections in Advance
Don’t wait until the move to make connections. You may not know the school yet, but you may be able to get tapped in to other types of things similar to organizations in your current location like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, martial arts, music lessons, religious communities, dance classes, etc.
6. Make positive memories
It is important to help kids create positive memories they can take with them to the new location. Pictures and videos can help. Have the kids create a photo album of their favorite places, in and out of the home. Have them make a video for the next family moving in about all the wonders and secrets of their current home and neighborhood.
7. Create a Journal
Creating a Journal is great way to help your children to record their feelings, both positive and negative. There are great articles online about the benefits of journaling for kids. Allow the kids journals to be private and it is their secret. What’s needed? Not much, buy a cheap spiral or composition book at the Dollar store and let them start writing about moving and their feelings. Let kids decorate their new journal a cover image with a picture they take or draw of the current home.
8. Prep the continuation of friendships
One of the most wonderful things about today’s internet age is the way it can help us stay in touch with faraway friends. There are so many ways to keep in touch with friends. Zoom, Facetime, Skype, Instant Messenger, Facebook, Parlar, Google hangouts, text messaging, and video phone calls all combine make it easy to maintain friendships across the nation and abroad. Parents should allow their kids to stay connected with old friends while they make new friends. Friendships can last forever.
9. Let the Kids in on helping to organize
Often kids love organizing projects and allowing them search online for moving tips can be a great way to channel their energy towards making the move. When allowed to be part of the actual organizing of the move can help them make moving more palatable.
Take their ideas seriously and try to incorporate their ideas or tips on moving.
10. Plan the Moving Day
Parents must make an important decision about whether the kids should be there when the moving trucks (or helpers) arrive or not. There is no one right answer. However, being there can be incredibly exciting. It can also be helpful for the children to see their house empty and realize that their home is now a shell and the family is taking everything they have to their new home. Note: It is important to remember that if they are helping on moving day that the kids have a responsibility to do…it can be as simple as overlooking the checklist or to help cleaning up. Just allowing them to be a part can help a lot with them making the move.
11. Get counseling if needed
Parents there is no need to wait until a huge crisis occurs until you seek some sort of outside intervention. A session or two with a counselor during the process of the move can be a great preventative measure and help make the move a little easier for the kids and even yourself to make the transition if there are issues before or after the move.
Pooh Bear’s Daycare hopes you find these Tips to Help Kids on Moving helpful to prepare children to move to a new home. Parents it is important to remember that if you and the family are going to move, to be sure to take time for yourself, too. You may have the same challenges as your children in many ways, so be patient with everyone including yourself. Best wishes to you and your family in your new home!