Summer is officially here! For families, the most popular time to move to a new home is when school is out. It may be a popular time to move, but its certainly not a popular activity. It’s no secret, no one likes to move and that includes your kids. Moving is one of the most stressful times in life. It brings a lot of change, to do lists, and financial concerns. For your kids, it means making new friends and maybe adjusting to a new school. Way before you break out those cardboard boxes, use these pointers to get your kids through the moving process.
Here are four stages to a successful move with kids: timing, transition, getting the kids involved and an adjustment period.
1. First consider the timing of your move (this is probably the most important element):
- What grades are your children in? If your eldest is about to be a senior in high school, it may be best to let them live with a trusted relative to finish up high school with their friends. If your youngest is about to enter middle school, this is an ideal time to move since they will be entering a new school either way.
- Is school on a break? Much better to time a move with kids when school’s out.
2. Second, make the transition into the new home as easy as possible for your kids. Try these tips to make the transition a smooth one:
- Make the new home the kids’ own. Allow them to walk through the new house before the move. Let them feel they are part of the decision. Allow them (as much as possible) to choose their own bedroom, paint colors, and play the imagination game with them: “Let’s imagine what this room will be like when it’s yours? Where will your stuffed animals go? Where will the bed go?” etc.
- In the old house, talk about how their favorite toys, games, etc. are going to be in the new house too. This is not the time to clean out the closet and discard unwanted clothes and toys. You don’t want your kids associating loss with the move. If you need to de-clutter your kids’ room, do that way before the subject of the move comes up.
- TALK and LISTEN to your kids. Ask them what they are excited about and what things they are going to miss.
- Before you move out, sit down with your children with a map. Show them where the new house is and have them help you plan the trip and then have them follow the map as you make your way to your new home.
- Stay connected to friends, neighbors and family back home. Arrange webcam time with the children’s friends before you move to the new home, it will help make the transition easier when they know they can keep in touch with their old friends. And, set up a play date for the old friends to come over for a sleep over.
3. There is no easier way to keep kids happy than giving them a feeling of control – get them involved!
- Have them arrange their own room. Draw out a floor plan of the rooms in the new house and let your children make paper doll furniture and arrange what they want in their room.
- Encourage your kids to pack themselves so they are involved in the moving process. They can have and be responsible for their own boxes and suitcases.
- Give each child a backpack to fill with overnight items so you don’t have to dig through boxes. Include their toothbrush, pjs, change of clothes, favorite stuffed animal, and favorite bedtime story. Remember to put the children’s medications in mommy’s purse or back pack for safe keeping.
- Give them one box to pack freely with the stuff they want, it will be the first box they open in their new room.
4. Lastly is the adjustment to the new home and neighborhood, an extremely important phase of a move as it sets the stage for your new life in your new home. Here are my suggestions to make the adjustment period a great one:
- Host a party in your new neighborhood and invite children the same age as your own kid(s) over so they can make friends. It’s as easy as a pool party, pizza party or a cookout.
- Take them for a drive by their new school, the local ice cream place, and playground. If they have a hobby such as dancing, show them a dance studio in the new neighborhood too.
- Set up a tour of the new school and schedule a time to meet their new teacher before school starts.
Wishing you and your family happiness in your new home!
Author Bio: Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.