10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for a Move
Changing homes, schools, and friends can be very stressful for children. That's why Mighty Mommy has come up with 10 tips on how to make this transition smoother and less traumatic for the whole family.
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You're packing your bags and are excited about moving to your new home. But whether it's in a nearby town, across the country, around the world, or just a few blocks away, moving can be a very difficult transition for children.
Changing homes, schools, and friends is stressful. That's why Mighty Mommy has come up with 10 ways for how to make moving easier on children.
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Tip #1: Involve Your Children as Soon as Possible
Try and get the children involved in the move as early as possible by giving them age-appropriate responsibilities to help them have a sense of control over the situation. If you're still in the house hunting phase, ask them if they would like a home with a backyard similar to the one they have now or would they rather have more space inside their new house where they can have secret hideouts or bigger bedrooms? If you have teens, take them with you to look at your top choices to show them that their opinion matters and that they have a say in their new home.
These may seem like trivial matters, but to a child, being involved in the move early on will make them feel more secure and even excited about the prospect of relocating.
Tip #2: Create a Positive Introduction
Once you've chosen your new home (but before you move), take your children to visit their new home and neighborhood, as well as see the other special places like the daycare, grocery store, playground, library, and other fun spots they might be visiting on a regular basis.
If you can arrange ahead of time for them to meet one or two families in the neighborhood, even better! If you are involved in a church or temple at your present home, check out some spiritual places before you move and take your child to a service there as soon after the move as possible.
The key here is to have a place and people for your kids to move “to” rather than making them feel that they are moving “away” from their current familiar situation.
Tip #3: Give a Timeline
Explain the move step-by-step, tailored to your child’s developmental level. Younger kids have shorter attention spans, so don’t offer too many details at once. Older kids want specifics: Where are we moving to? How are we getting there? When are we moving? What does the new house look like? When do I start school? Provide as many details as they want, and make sure these come from you or your parenting partner.
Tip #4: Visit New Schools Ahead of Time
If possible, try to visit the school and your child’s classroom during a non-school time so you can both become a bit familiar with the new building, atmosphere, rules, etc. If your child can meet with his new teacher before school starts, it would provide an opportunity for the teacher to spend a little time welcoming him to his new school and gush about all its great qualities - such as the big playground they’ll use during recess or the new computers in each classroom.
A little bit of quality time in the school can alleviate your child’s anxiety.