Moving, like any major life change, brings about a lot of
mixed emotions for adults, and even more so for kids who might not know or
understand everything leading up to the decision. Worried about how your kids
will adjust to your new house? Here are some tips and best practices for
helping kids settle into a new home.
How do I tell my Child We’re Moving?
Many parents aren’t keen on this conversation, in part
because they’re not sure how their kids might react. But honesty is the best
policy, so be upfront with them about when and why you’re moving. Give them
time to wrap their brains around this, then talk about how they can be involved
– joining you on home tours, selecting which features will be included in the
custom build, or indicating which room they want as their own.
Essentially, tell them and let them process, but don’t linger
on the “why” for too long. Answer your child’s questions honestly, and then
dive into the rest of the process so they – and you – aren’t hung up on the
How do I Prepare my Kids for Moving?
So you’ve shared the news, and your kids seem to be on board (at least for today) – success! Now it’s time to start planning. Talk to them about the moving process and create a moving plan; this will help kids conceptualize what to expect leading up to and throughout the move, while simultaneously helping you prepare by having to think through every single step.
By when should all boxes be packed? What dinner will you
have to celebrate? If you haven’t found a home yet, what is the next step in
your home search process?
Creating a plan and including your kids’ opinions is a great
way to help restore a sense of control to them, which will, in turn, help them
process the move.
How do I Pack a Kid’s Room?
This step is a bit easier said than done. The sense of
control we just mentioned? It’s time to hand over the reins and let the little
ones take the lead.
Supervise so they’re safe and that priceless heirloom
antique clock doesn’t end up tossed into a box of toys, but otherwise, let them
decide what to put in each box.
If time permits, make them responsible for labeling and packing boxes from their room – know that this could elongate the process, so reiterate that packing deadline. If you’re downsizing or decluttering as you go, let your kid decide what goes and what stays.
How do I Incorporate Kids into Moving Day?
Getting overwhelmed just thinking about the chaos of moving
day? The first step to tackling these anxieties is making sure you’re not doing
it alone, literally. Whether it’s a partner, extended family, movers, or a
babysitter, have help on hand to make sure you’re not moving boxes and
comforting kids all at the same time. Having a responsible person to give them
undivided attention (or to do your moving so you can be with them) will ensure
they’re not feeling left out or left behind.
The next step? Give them something to do. If your kids are
older, let them help direct movers or transport light or fragile items. For
littles, have books and activities on hand so they can play independently.
Keeping them focused will free you up to handle the obstacles of moving house.
Another step to take is helping each child put together a
backpack before the move with all of their valuables in it. Anything from a
well-loved stuffed animal to a favorite t-shirt can be included; this way, when
emotions are running and high and patience is disappearing, comfort items are
How do I Help a Child Adjust to a New Home?
Wait, isn’t this the whole reason we’re here? Why is this
section at the very end?
Taking the aforementioned steps will help ease the overall
adjustment process. Openly communicating, generating a positive vibe about the
move overall, giving them a sense of control, and maintaining calm during the
process helps make a positive transition into the new home. All you have to do
is continue these steps once in your new home.
Continue to communicate – answer questions they have, and
those they don’t think to ask. How will they get to school? What will they wear to school, and where is the
bathroom? Who are the neighbors, and what are they like? Does moving into a new
house mean you can finally get that dog they’ve been begging for? Keeping this
line of communication open will not only help your children adjust to their new
space, but also give you a sense of their struggles and how they’re adapting.
Stay positive, but be realistic. Just as you did with
packing, give them a deadline for unpacking, and consider building in rewards –
maybe trying out a restaurant in the new neighborhood or going to a movie
together. These incentives have the added bonus of helping to make new, happy
memories. Don’t forget, though, to let them take the lead at times. If they’re
old enough, let them decide how their room will be set up, or what photos or
pictures will go on the wall.
Moving is a daunting task for anyone, and is made even more
complex when trying to navigate kid’s emotions and questions. Whether you’re
still in the planning phase or your move is right around the corner, take a
deep breath and remind yourself that when this is all over, you’ll have a brand
new home in which to create memories with your family.