Moving is tough for everyone involved. And perhaps, even a little more fraught when children are involved.
Adults have adult stuff going on for sure, from transferring utilities to packing, keeping work schedules, to tracking loose ends. It’s absolutely frazzling.
For children and teens, however, settling in afterward may be the hardest adjustment they’ll have to make. Saying goodbye to friends was tough enough, but the excitement of moving to a new home, neighborhood and school is filled with all kinds of anxiety, too.
To help your kids make an easier transition, here are some tips you can incorporate into the weeks just before — and after — you move.
- Tour the house, neighborhood and school before you move in
Walk your kids through the house ahead of moving in, discussing each room and the activities each will include. Ask for input on organizing the space. Cover every room, including the yard. Allow for time let kids explore it on their own. Younger kids? Set up a game of hide and seek or a treasure hunt to encourage a fun sense of exploration.
Drive from the house to their new school, so they can get a sense of how far away it is, and what it looks like.
Include a drive by woods, playgrounds, soccer fields, and nearby parks so kids get a good idea of what’s nearby.
- Give each child an Essentials Box for moving day
For you, this may be medications, band aids, essential papers, keys, and batteries. For kids, it’s what’s important to them, whether that’s a phone, journal, headphones, game player, or stuffed animal. Make sure every member of the family packs an Essentials Box for themselves. For most moves, everyone takes his/her box with them (instead of with the movers) to make they feel connected their first night.
- Unpack the kids’ rooms first
Most of us would like the kitchen settled first, so put the kitchen essentials in the kitchen, but unpack beginning with the kids’ rooms. This will go a long way toward helping kids settle in, while giving them stuff to do – like unpacking and arranging their rooms (while you unpack the kitchen.) Generally, the sooner a child’s room is unpacked, the quicker they’ll adjust to their new space.
- Get back into a routine as soon as possible
As hard as it is to keep a routine with boxes everywhere, do your best to keep set routines as much as possible. Kids thrive on routine, especially after they’ve been uprooted. Keep bedtime hours, meals, homework, social media, and playtimes consistent. This will help everyone to feel more settled.
- Celebrate the new house with your kids!
Begin dinner or breakfast on your first full day in the new place with a “toast” to the new house, and your new life together. Maybe even light a candle and have each child make a wish for his/her new chapter.
Welcome home… and cheers!