When grown-ups decide to move, kids can feel as if the whole world is against them. After all, they usually have no say in where the family is moving to or when they are going. Feeling powerless is bad enough, but throw in the fact that they are saying goodbye to their school, house, friends and essentially their entire world, and your kids may have a hard time adjusting to a new place. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make the transition a little smoother. Here are 10 tips to help you get started:
Let Them Decorate Their New Room
Even kids who are hesitant to move get excited about the chance to turn their new room into the space they have always wanted. If the option is available, let your child pick out the room he or she likes best. Allow them to pick out paint colors and choose some pictures to go on the wall or buy new bedding. If there is something they have really been wanting for their bedroom, such as a television, computer or other gadget, considering surprising them with it as a little housewarming gift.
Throw a Farewell Party
If your kids are concerned about leaving their friends; give them one last chance to say goodbye. Have them invite their closest friends over to spend an afternoon or even have a slumber party. Of course, you cannot have a party without cake and other goodies. Play up that idea that a move can be something to celebrate. Be sure to take pictures of your child with their friends so they will be able to look back when they are feeling homesick.
Make a Scrapbook
Before you leave your old home take some time to put together a book of memories from your old place. You might even consider visiting each room, the yard and even your neighborhood and taking pictures and recording your favorite memories.
Talk Positively About the New Place
Whether you are moving to a bigger house with more room for playing or a neighborhood that has a cool new park or a big city to explore, be sure to let your kids know about all the exciting things the new place has in store for them.
Explore Your New Town Together
Either just before you move or shortly after, take some time away from sifting through boxes to explore the new town as a family. Load up the car one Saturday, and make a day of it, stopping at local restaurants, playgrounds and other places your kids might enjoy. You may even drive by and show your kids where they will go to daycare, school or church if you already know that information.
Get Involved with a Small Group of Other Kids
Making friends is tough anytime, but when you are the new kid, it can be particularly daunting. Getting involved with a small group such as the church youth group, scouts or a sports team can provide kids with an easier and friendlier place to meet new people.
Collect Contact Information for Close Friends
If your child is worried about leaving some best friends behind, be sure to let them know that they are not saying goodbye forever. With social media and cell phones, anyone in the world is just a text or email away. Consider purchasing a little address book as a gift for your child so that he or she can go around and collect contact information from everyone they want to stay in touch with.
Get the Kids Involved with the Moving Process
When a child is told they are moving they may feel as if they have no control over the situation, but allowing them to help with the moving process can reassure them that they are an important member of the family. Give your child tasks that they can complete, such as packing books or labeling boxes.
Read Books and Watch Movies About Moving
One of the best ways to show kids that moving is not such a bad thing is by showing them through books and movies. Some good books are The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Goodbye, House by Frank Asch and Anastasia Again! by Lois Lowry. As for movies, try Toy Story, Because of Winn-Dixie or Cheaper by the Dozen.
Do Something Fun in Your New Town
Is there a theme park, beach or movie theater in your new town? Surprise your child by taking them out to a fun place they have never been to before. Not only will it help them get excited about their new city, but it will give you a break from unpacking.
Respect Your Child’s Feelings
Finally, listen to your child’s fears, and let them know that you are there for them. Parents are sometimes too quick to dismiss their child’s concerns as unimportant. If your child knows you are taking them seriously, they might be willing to compromise when it comes to their attitude towards the move.