Tips for Moving with Kids: Trusted Local Movers Offer Advice
Whether your kids are 2 or 22, moving your family home can make them emotional and stressed. Moving away from friends, changing schools and living in unfamiliar surroundings takes a toll on kids. Even the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry weighs in on this issue. The organization reports that moving is one of the most stress-inducing events facing a family. Moving to a new home doesn’t have to create complete emotional upheaval though. There are plenty of things you can do to make moving easier for everyone in the family.
Moving with Infants
Your infant obviously isn’t going to fret about an upcoming move the way slightly older children might. They can, however, be affected by a move’s change in environment and routine. If you’re moving with an infant, try to keep as close to your normal schedule as possible. Make sure their new napping spaces are set up before their usual nap time arrives. If you normally rock babies to sleep in a certain rocker, have it ready to use. If tots need to nurse in a quiet environment, make sure you have a spot readied. Keep favorite toys, blankets, teething rings and pacifiers at hand for a little extra comfort.
Moving with Toddlers and Preschoolers
Moving can be a tough concept for little ones, so it’s important to explain exactly what’s going to happen. Do this well ahead of your move. This gives your toddler time to think about the move and ask questions. Don’t be surprised if you need to talk about it many times.
If you can, take your kids to the new home before the move. Walk through the house, and show your kids their rooms. Talk about where they want their beds and toys. Check out the yard, and if it’s safe, let your little one run around a bit. Tour the whole home so kids can start to imagine themselves in the new space.
If your little one is going to be attending preschool or daycare in the new area, take them to the site. If you can, introduce them to their new teachers or caregivers. Let them meet some of the kids in the new school or daycare.
It’s important that your child feels included in the process. If you’re packing some of your own boxes before the move, involve your child. Let her pack a box of her toys or the box of special items you need to keep handy.
Most importantly, know your child and try to anticipate potential issues. This is especially important if you have a professional moving company involved. Some preschoolers may become upset with strangers in the house, packing up their things. If you think your child may be disturbed by this, schedule the movers when your child isn’t at home. Just be sure to prepare your child to return home to find their things packed.
Give your child a chance to say “goodbye” to the house and neighborhood friends.
Moving with School-Aged Children
Many of the tips for moving with preschoolers are also helpful when your kids are a little older. Talk about the move as far in advance as possible. Give kids time to process the news and ask questions. Take them to the new house, and let them “claim” their new room. Walk around the new neighborhood, locating the closest parks and highlights. Go to their new school, and introduce your kids to their new teachers and classmates.
Involve kids in the packing, even if you have professional movers doing the bulk of the work. This helps kids feel included in the process and gives them some control over their things.
In addition to some of these common-sense activities, get creative with your kids before the move. Have them make going-away gifts for their friends, teachers and neighbors. Throw a going-away party so kids can see everyone one last time. Make a memory board or scrap book of the current house so kids can keep those memories close.
It’s also important to help children anticipate and be excited about the new house. Take kids to the hardware or paint store to pick out paint samples for their new rooms. Let them draw pictures of the new home or their room. Encourage them to visualize their dreams for their new home.
Moving with Teenagers
Moving when your kids are teenagers can be trickier than with younger children. Teenagers feel the same uncertainty, sadness and stress that toddlers feel during a move. They often express those emotions differently, though, if at all. Do everything you would do with younger kids. Talk about the move. Tour the new home. Have a going-away party.
At this age, friends and activities are probably even more important than at younger ages. Reassure teenagers that they can stay in contact with their existing friends. If you move when school is not in session, make an effort to help kids form new friendships right away. Take them to community swimming pools or parks where they can meet local teenagers. If your new town or school has a teen center, that’s a perfect spot for your teen to hang out. Encourage your teen to get out in the community, whether it’s through a summer job or volunteering. Anything you can do to help your teen start forming relationships in the new town is a good thing.