How to Help Children Adjust to a Long Distance Move

Moving can be stressful even if you’re just relocating down the street; but for children who are moving long-distance, leaving their home, neighborhood, and school can be an especially difficult challenge.

Parents shouldn’t avoid talking about the move and its stressors; it’s hard for anyone to leave a home that they love. To help make the conversation and transition easier, take a look at these tips.

Include Them in the Home-Buying Process

Rather than simply moving your kids to a new house they don’t know anything about, allow them to be involved in the entire process. Look at single family home listings together, and compile a list of features the family would love in their next house. Looking at houses together and discussing options will give kids a sense of control over a situation that could otherwise leave them feeling lost.

Plan Their New Bedroom

Before you move, show you children photos of the new house, and plan a shopping trip to pick out new decorations. From a new bedspread to a comfy chair, allow children to help prepare for their new space and get excited about making the new house feel like home.

You can also talk about different design ideas they may like to try, such as painting the walls a fun color together.

Go on a Google Maps Tour

Check out the new neighborhood together by entering the address on Google Maps and taking a virtual tour. You can also plug in the address of their future school, which can help the transition feel slightly less scary. Check out the surrounding neighborhood, and point out different places you recognize from the website when you arrive.

Have a Farewell Party

Have one last family party in your house before the move; it doesn’t have to be super elaborate; giving the kids new pajamas and a stuffed animal to take with them while you eat some pizza and watch movies can be a great way to make their send-off less sad.

If your children are younger, consider attaching a notecard to their new stuffed animal that tells them how excited they are to move into the new house together!

Use the Move as a Teaching Moment

A big move might be your children’s first encounters with loss and grief. Be sure to have a sit-down talk if needed and ask them how they feel. Assure them that it’s okay to be upset they’re moving, but shift the conversation in a positive direction by reminding them of the memories you’ll always get to keep no matter where you live.

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