6 Tips for Helping Kids Transition During a Move
Kids are pretty resilient, and, despite what they say, moving won’t ruin their lives. Many children see a move as an end to the life and relationships they’ve built. Though you know they will rebuild these relationships, it’s important to take their concerns seriously. The process of any move can be very stressful, and that’s especially true for children. Depending on the age of your children, you may need to adjust your approach to the topic of moving to a new home to make the transition easier on them.
Be Compassionate When You Break the News
While you might be excited for the move, you should expect your kids to feel a mix of anger and sadness. The shock of leaving the life they knew at home behind aside, your kids will have no feeling of control over the situation and may lash out unexpectedly. Make sure your younger kids understand that everyone will be moving together; it’s not uncommon for younger kids to assume at first that they’ll be left behind.
Emphasize the Perks
Kids of all ages may not like the idea of leaving their schools and neighborhood friends behind, but try to get them to understand they’ll have the chance to make new friends and learn at a new school. Thanks to modern technology, it will be easy for your kids to keep up with their friends through social media, online games, or even writing letters (which can become a great educational exercise, too!).
Take Care of Yourself
Make sure your take time for rest and relaxation occasionally during the weeks leading up to your move. It will be much easier to handle a day full of packing and stressed-out kids if you get enough sleep the night before.
Don’t Dismiss Your Kids’ Negative Feelings
It’s perfectly normal for your kids to be completely un-enthused about the move. They may cry, act out, or some may even start displaying regressive behaviors like bed-wetting and temper tantrums. Kids can’t express their feelings as well as adults. Sometimes, all they need is some reassurance and a place to process their negative feelings safely.
Look for Creative Opportunities for Closure
Transitioning to a new home can be even more stressful on a child who feels like he or she has “unfinished business” in the old neighborhood, the old school, or with old friends. Taking time to write goodbye letters, thank-you notes, and meet with friends to say goodbye can help kids transition more easily.
Get Your Kids Involved
Kids may act out when they feel like they have no control over their lives, so making them part of the process can help them feel more at ease with the situation. Younger kids will love to do things like picking out paint for their new rooms, choosing how to arrange their furniture, and exploring the new neighborhood to make new friends. Older kids and teens may have more fun acclimating to their new rooms if you give them a small budget for decorating.