According to the 2020 Moving with Kids Report from the National Association of Realtors® , home buyers, with or without kids, said that finding the right property is the most difficult part of buying a home. Then, once a home is selected, buyers then begin the tedious process of making offers and counter offers, home inspections, getting final approval on a mortgage, buying insurance, getting ready for closing day, scheduling movers and all else that comes along with any big move.
Throughout this process, buyers with children have added responsibilities of figuring out how to do all this while also not disrupting family life too much for the little ones. According to Psychology Today, kids are also stressed during moves often worrying about starting new schools and losing old friends.
Fortunately, there are some things that parents can do to lesson the negative effects of a tough move. If you are planning a move, here are some tips to help you succeed.
While you may think your child is too young to realize what is going on, communicate anyway. According to Healthy Children.org, let them know what is about to happen. There is no need to go into great detail, just explain the basics such as moving to a new, hopefully nicer, neighborhood and the need to start a new school. Be sure to point out the positives and negatives and then let them ask questions and express themselves. Highlight a new play space, bedroom or maybe a community pool they didn’t have before. And to tackle the tough questions, first listen and then answer as honestly as possible. This is difficult especially when the change is due to unfortunate circumstances such as divorce or the loss of a job. This is when you want to let the child express themselves and then reassure them that you will get through this together.
Inform children about the move ahead of time. There is no magic number and most parents know their children well enough to know when the time is right, as it depends on maturity level and circumstances. The idea is to have them prepared so that when they see you with moving boxes in the house, they are already know what to expect. Use this time to also discuss the positives of the move. Plan socials with their friends and loved ones. Show them pictures of their new home, drive by the neighborhood, or have them talk to a few people from their new school. Also, consider all aspects of the move including: changing your mailing address, getting school records if needed, requesting pediatric records, informing neighbors and finding baby sitting services for hectic days. Time will seem to run out so the further out you plan, the more likely you won’t miss the major items and kids will feel reassured that everything will be ok.
Moving to a new home is a life-changing event so treat it as such. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family and also budget accordingly for baby sitting and professional movers for the day-of. There is enough to do with just keeping track of all the boxes and everything else. So leave the heavy lifting and running after toddlers for another time. Concentrate on having a smooth transition. Also, don’t rush to unpack. It’s fine to let the dust settle, especially if you are undecided on where large furniture pieces will go, etc. Be kind to yourself during this difficult time.
Include the Kids
Make packing boxes and getting ready for Moving Day fun for the kids when you can. Give them small tasks to be in charge of so they feel that they have helped to move their family. This is a great opportunity to donate toys and clothing that isn’t being used. At the new home, let them help to decide where the furniture will go or the toys will live. Giving them some control will take their minds off the negatives. And if they will be with you on moving day, plan fun activities to keep them occupied. Here are some good game ideas from Moving.com.
So you made it! Even if your move was due to difficult circumstances, children will feel more at ease if they see you happy and confident so don’t forget to celebrate. Put your mark on your new surroundings, do something special to thank your children for supporting the move or have a small family party. Also take your time in unpacking to allow for some fun and creating new and good memories.
Moving is difficult on everyone. Children will likely adjust more easily when consistently reassured by parents who seem to be in control. From a child’s perspective, consider presenting a move as a new adventure for them. Make it sound like fun and try turn a negative into a positive.
With that attitude, who wouldn’t want to move with you.