Moving to a new home can be a stressful experience for anyone. From the moment the house hunt begins to the day one steps foot into a new abode, relocating can be an intense process – especially when children are involved. More often than not, the home serves as a special source of security and comfort for children, so it’s no wonder why many families have concerns about leaving their familiar surroundings. After all, kids tend to be reluctant to change their clothes let alone their addresses, schools and friends!
Talking to kids before a move can help get them ready both emotionally and physically. Parents who communicate with their children that moving is an exciting adventure rather than something frightening or dreadful are likely to reduce some of the stress and help make moving more enjoyable for everyone. Most children adjust quickly to a move, especially when parents take the time to talk to their kids about the process and plan activities in advance. “The most important thing is for parents to have a good attitude. Everything is not expected to be perfect but if parents stay positive and enthusiastic about moving, the kids will feel better about it too.”
Below are six suggestions from The Mash Team for how to make moving fun for the entire family:
- Explore the neighborhood. Between the time you close on a new home and the time the moving truck arrives, spend a “family day” touring the new neighborhood. This will take some of the “mystery” out of the move. Pointing out local attractions and introducing children to their new neighbors and school will help get them excited about their new surroundings and reassure them that they will be able to make friends after the move.
If it is not possible to go to your new neighborhood, try to compile as much information about the local community as possible. Online tools such as Coldwell Banker On Location can offer consumers a wealth of information. Also ask your Mash Team Representative for photographs of the new home and local area so that you can share them with your child.
- Make a family wish list. One of the best ways to acclimate your child to change is to emphasize the positive opportunities they’ll be presented with once the family makes the adjustment. Write a list of all of the things your child wants to do once the family is settled in the new home. By encouraging your child to get involved with extracurricular activities that align with existing interests, you’ll not only keep them busy but help them to feel more at home in their new surroundings. Activities such a as sports, gymnastics, theater and art classes will also be a great way for your kids to make new friends.
- Pack a treasure box. It’s no secret that children can become very attached to their belongings. That’s why The Mash Team suggests giving your child his / her own packing box to decorate however they would like and to pack up their favorite things. Keep the box close by throughout the move. This way your child can be sure those precious items will not be left behind.
- Let loose your child’s creativity. Kids will appreciate being involved in decorating their new house – especially when it comes to their own room! Bring home paint swatches so that your child can choose a color for the walls. Then follow up with a special day where he / she can shop for a new comforter, furniture, etc. Being reasonable with his / her selection and allowing your child to be creative will help make the transition smoother – after all, it’s only paint!
- Help your kids create an address book. Staying in touch with friends has never been easier. Help your child collect phone numbers, mailing and email addresses for everyone they would like to keep in touch with. Then show him / her how easy it is to send an email. People are using the Internet more and more to ‘speak’ with each other anytime and from anywhere with just the click of a button. By showing your child how simple it can be to keep in touch with old friends, they are sure to feel more at ease about the move.
- Pre-plan a housewarming party with friends from the old neighborhood. Saying goodbye to friends can be difficult for parents and their children. Before the big moving day arrives, plan a gathering at your new home with pals from the old neighborhood. Having a date set in advance will help your child to see that just because the family is leaving behind a particular home, does not mean they are leaving behind friends.