We all know that moving can be stressful. Add to that the confusion and anxiety that a child may feel at leaving their familiar little world, and all of a sudden moving into that new place can be downright traumatic.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s a list of some things you can do to ease your child’s transition to a new home.
- Look for children’s books about packing, moving and getting used to a new house. See what’s available at your local library, or search online for titles. There’s plenty to choose from.
- Talk to your kids. Explain why you’re moving in an age-appropriate way. Keep it simple and clear. An older child will understand the concept of a job transfer but a younger child might find the idea of moving to a place with more room to play a more compelling explanation. Understanding the reason behind a move will help your child better absorb the reality.
- Changing schools as the result of a move presents its own special challenges. If you have elementary-school age children, try to visit the new school with your child before he or she starts attending. Ask to meet the teachers, tour the classrooms, and maybe spend some time at the school with your youngster. Encourage your older children to do some online research into their new school; help them explore its academic opportunities, clubs and athletics.
- Whenever possible, involve children in some of the decisions. If you’re looking at homes for sale together, ask them for their opinions. Ask where they’d place a bed and toys in their new room, or have them pick a new paint color.
- You might be ready for new furniture and decor, but young children might have an easier time adjusting to a new home if some familiar pieces from the previous home stick around. So don’t rush to redecorate. Familiar items may ease your youngster’s transition.
- Try to set up your child’s new room as soon as possible, even before the rest of the house is under control. Order, calm and your child’s favorite toys easily within reach will go a long way in making him or her feel settled.
- If possible, revisit your former neighborhood or invite your child’s friends from there to your new place. That reconnection with the past, even if it’s brief, can help your child move forward.