Moving is a big deal, even without young children. There are a lot of logistics to organizing and an endless list of things to do to prepare your new house. It can be a stressful time and kids have a way of picking up on their parent’s emotions.
So take care of yourself first. Get enough sleep and don’t put off eating to try and finish one last task. And, if you can try a few of these steps with your little ones, hopefully everyone’s experience will be a positive one. And if you are planning to move but haven’t found the perfect house yet check out one of our other blog posts about choosing the right house for you.
Before the Move
The first time you bring up the move, be prepared for an emotional reaction. That’s normal so let them express their feelings. Tell them a month or more in advance so there’s plenty of time to process how they feel and plenty of time for you to help them accept the change.
Most small children won’t understand what a move will actually mean, it’s a big concept for them. It can also be hard to picture what there life will be like afterwards. Try and reassure them that things will be the same but in a different house. Everyone will go together and they can still see their old friends.Don’t try to talk them out of their negative feelings.
Talk to them frequently about the upcoming move. It might seem like overkill but try and bring it up once everyday. This will give them plenty of opportunities to ask questions and to discuss how they are feeling.
Bring up the positive aspects that a move can bring like new friends or a bigger room. Reinforcing the positives will, over time, help them to see the move as a positive thing too. And if you act excited about moving they are more likely to get excited too!
Plan ahead. Have a timeline established of what will happen when and communicate every step with your kids. Have some fun activities planned that they can look forward to, and if you can, bring them to the new neighborhood.
Try to visit the parks or find a fun new restaurant. If you are moving to Issaquah your new favorite place could be Boehms Candies or Bloom Juice, two local gems. Easing them into the new environment can help soften the blow of such a dramatic change.
Remember that moving is a decision out of their control, and a feeling of helplessness would make anyone anxious, including your kids. Help them get some of that control back by letting them be a part of as many decisions a possible, like packing.
Having your kids around the whole time you pack would be hectic, especially with a toddler. Instead, pick a time to help them pack a few of their things into boxes, even if you have to re-pack it later. Make a game out of it and let them play-pack while everyone else is working. Involving your kids in the process will give them a sense of control over their situation and make them feel less anxious and afraid.
Other things you can do once your in the new house is let them pick their own rooms and give them a say in how to arrange the furniture or new paint colors for their room.
After the Move
Maintain contact with old friends. Even if you are only moving one neighborhood over, the distance between your kids and their friends feels huge.
And children can’t stay in contact with old friends all by themselves. Helping them stay connected with people from the old neighborhood will help them feel less cut off.
Unpack the kids room first. It’s important to normalize their surroundings as soon as possible and starting with their bedroom will have the biggest positive effect.
Going to sleep in a strange place will be hard for them and waking up in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar place will be even more upsetting. But having a familiar environment filled with familiar things will help the space feel like home. So load their things last and unload them first.
Establish a routine. It’s no secret that routines are good for children so do your best to maintain a routine throughout the move and when you are getting settled.
Moving is a major life event and it can be tempting to set new resolutions and make a fresh start in the new house. While this is an excellent opportunity for parent to try and make some changes it will only put more stress on the little ones i.e moving from a crib to a big kid bed.
One of the only times you will go through everything you own is during a move. It is a perfect time to purge any clutter accumulated over the years. Encourage your kids to do the same but don’t push them.