Moving can be a stressful experience for children. They may feel anxious about leaving their friends, changing schools, and adapting to a new environment. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to help make the transition as smooth as possible for their children. Here are some ways to help little ones adjust to a move:
- Involve them in the planning process: A sense of agency is surprisingly important to kids, and moving is no exception. Children can feel more in control of the move if they are involved in the planning process. Parents can ask for their input on what they would like to bring to the new home, what their new room should look like, and what activities they would like to do in the new area.
- Explore the new space: Before the move, parents can take their children on a tour of the area. They can show them their new home, the school they will attend, and local parks and attractions. This can help children feel more familiar with their new environment and reduce anxiety.
- Keep routines consistent: Moving can disrupt a child's routine, but parents can try to keep their routines as consistent as possible. This includes maintaining regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and homework schedules. Consistency can help children feel more secure and provide a sense of normalcy during a time of change.
- Pack a "moving day" bag: On moving day, parents can pack a bag for their children with their favorite toys, books, and snacks. This can help keep them occupied and comfortable during the move. Parents can also pack a special "new home" bag with items that will make their child's new room feel more familiar, such as their favorite stuffed animal or a family photo.
- Stay positive: Children often take cues from their parents' emotions, so it's important for parents to stay positive about the move. They can talk about the exciting opportunities the move will bring, such as new friends and experiences. By staying optimistic, parents can help their children feel more optimistic and confident about the move.
- Enlist help: Depending on the age of your child, it may be helpful to get help from friends or family. It may be best for your little one to spend the day at grandma and grandpa's house, or perhaps an aunt or uncle can come by to be another pair of eyes (and another play pal!) during the move. Discuss this plan with your child so that they know what to expect.
- Talk to your mover: Give some thought to what your mover might be able to do to help. Is your child still taking naps? Ask your mover to put the contents of their room onto the truck last, that way their space can be set up first at the new home.