Moving to a new home is a difficult experience for everyone, but it is particularly tough for children. They are leaving behind more than just a familiar house. They’re also saying goodbye to friends, a neighborhood, a school, and maybe more. Here are some simple tips for helping your kids adjust to life at a new address.
Remember Their Transition
As we adults struggle to activate utilities, sell real estate, and adjust to a new job, we can easily forget about the kids. For them to come through the move as seamlessly as possible, it is essential that you help them adjust as well. Take them to explore their new school at the first opportunity. Check out the restaurants, stores, parks, and entertainment areas that will interest them. Talk to local groups about sports, orchestra, theater, or whatever hobbies they may have.
Get Them Involved
We often think that packing, hauling, and unpacking is adults’ work, and it is. However, kids need to help a little too. Take care of their furniture, clothes, and “boring” things for them, and then set aside time to work them through the process of packing treasured toys or other belongings. Let them mark the boxes and use all the fun bubble wrap and tape they want.
Keep Some Simple Reminders
If this is the first move for your children, the adjustment is really big. Figure out a way for them to maintain some physical reminders of the old place. It could be a paver from the sidewalk or a plant transferred to the new home. It could even be the door frame where you’ve measured their heights. Whatever you manage to find, bring it along to keep the memories of the old home fresh while they build more memories in the new home.
This may be uncharted territory for your kids. They may feel guilty about being excited to make new friends after leaving their old ones behind. They may be anxious about a totally new school. They may even be almost manic with excitement at the possibilities. Their feelings will run the gamut, and the only thing you can do is listen and support them. In time, you’ll hear the conversations turn more towards the new life and less toward the strain of leaving the old life. Even kids who are generally upbeat will have down times. Just listen.
A move is a major change. When there are kids involved, you can make their transition more seamless by simply keeping their feelings and reactions in mind at all times.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.