Helping Kids Deal with the Move

December 15, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Moving or being relocated is something we all have to deal with eventually. While it may be exciting for some, leaving friends and the area you’re familiar with can make it a very stressful time. It can be especially hard when you have little ones. Not only can it be tough on them, it’s also tough trying to juggle work, planning the move, the actual move and parenting.

Don’t wait until the last minute to break the news to them. Kids will likely need quite a bit of time to adjust to the idea of moving. But at the same time, you don’t want to break the news far too early either. You don’t want them to be stressing out over it for months and months. Hopefully they’ll come around eventually and see the move as an exciting time or at least not a dreaded one. But some kids never will. Laura McHolm has some great tips for talking to your kids about the move.

Getting them involved may help. Let them start planning on how their new room is going to be set up. What furniture will there be and where will each piece be placed? If possible, let them have a say in it. Let them choose what color to paint the walls or how to decorate the room. If they’re able to help plan then hopefully they’ll start to get excited about their new room and the move overall. Hopefully they’ll start to see it as a new, exciting time in their life and a fresh start.

Have a plan. This can be a hectic and confusing time, especially for the kids. Create a calendar with concrete dates set for every aspect of the move so everyone, including the kids, will know what to expect and when.

Before the packing and moving begin, think about throwing a party for them. Decorate a binder or address book together so all their friends can fill in their information at the party. Let them pick out colors or stickers – there are tons of fun ways they can decorate it to make it special and unique. And make sure to emphasize how easy it is these days to stay in touch even if they aren’t going to be in the same neighborhood or going to the same school anymore. Phone, email, video chat on the tablet.

When you actually start packing and moving, don’t cut them out of the process. Let them help to a reasonable extent. Smaller children can help pack a box of their favorite stuff. Yes, you might have to redo it later, but letting them help might give them a sense of control in an otherwise confusing time. Older children can help pack the boxes into the moving truck or mobile storage units.

Once you’re at the new place, take the time to hold some sort of special family time that marks a new beginning. You could plant a tree in the backyard, create a family time capsule or even something as simple as taking a family photo on your new front porch to look back on in the future.

Moving can be a very stressful time, but it can also be fun and exciting – opening the door to a whole new world. Stay in touch with old friends and help your little ones do the same. Have family activities planned in the new house with new friends and neighbors ahead of time. A little planning and understanding can make it an experience the whole family can look back on with a smile.