Moving and settling into a new home with children
You’ve taken your time, you did your research, and found the perfect place to set down roots with your family. Congratulations, the challenging part is over; what comes next isn’t as problematic, but you should still approach it with care and consideration. You need to talk to your kids, plan the move, pack, say goodbye to your friends, and a bunch of other miscellaneous tasks.
So, read on to see how best to organize and handle this milestone event in their (and your) lives.
Tell the kids you’re moving
If you haven’t talked to them already, it’s time to break the news. Having a family meeting and making them feel involved is a great way to do it. Order or make some junk food they enjoy and explain everything.
Tell them why you’re moving and try to convey excitement. It’s doubtful your kids will be happy about the move. Uprooting any child from their social network and the environment they’re used to is bound to cause some dissatisfaction. So be optimistic about it, explain why it’s a good idea, and try to get them excited about it too!
Of course, it’s essential for you just to let them be unhappy for a while if that’s what they’re feeling. They’ll probably need some time to process emotions, and the best way to do it is to understand what they’re going through.
Include them in the process
The worst thing you can do is keep your children uninvolved and passive. Include them in the moving process, even if their contribution is symbolic. Kids tend to have a lot of free time, so make use of that resource. For instance, have them label boxes or pack their rooms. You can even put them in charge of researching moving agencies via a simple-to-use moving app if you think they’re old and responsible enough. Just make it clear you have a veto right over everything, and if you reject their suggestion, explain why you did it.
Make the whole thing a family activity. That will emphasize that you’re all doing it together and that they’re not just passive observers you’re dragging along.
Show them the new community
Take some time for a tour of your new neighborhood before you move in. This will be an important step in getting your children acclimated to the new environment and perhaps getting them excited about the move.
If possible, and if your kids are the right age, contact local parents and organize playdates with your children. Teenagers might want to try socializing with their peers or checking out their new school. Introduce yourselves to your new neighbors and start preparing for the inevitable change; that way, you’ll set an excellent example for your kids to follow. Besides, even you will need some time to adjust, so it’s essential to start early enough.
Pack their room last, and unpack it first
This might be tricky to organize, but it’s important to let your kids experience as normal of a schedule as possible. Of course, you must take care of the essential rooms like the kitchen and the bathroom first, but you want to quickly set up your kids’ room.
As with packing, you should include them in the unpacking process as well. Ask them questions about the room layout and, if you’re decorating before moving in, make sure to take their input into account. Help them make the new place feel theirs.
Take care of yourself
In the chaos of worrying about how your children are handling it and organizing the move itself, don’t forget to set aside some time for yourself. Self-care is vital, and you don’t want to burn out.
When you feel yourself getting worn out, take a step back and take some time off. Watch a movie, read a book, play a game… spend some time alone, do an activity with your partner or friends, or play with your kids. Whatever recharges your batteries, find a way to pencil it in. You’ll be much happier in the long run.
Moving is a stressful experience for anyone, but it’s even more stressful for kids who will be asked to make a fundamental change to their lives without (probably) having enough emotional experience to process it. It can also be exceptionally stressful for parents because, in addition to the whole moving process, they also must take care of the kids and keep them sufficiently involved without overwhelming them.
It’s a tricky balancing act, and we hope this article has helped you at least a bit when it comes to moving with children in tow.
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