Moving is stressful, especially when it’s due to a death in the family, divorce, or a job relocation. While there is no way to take away the anxiety that inevitably accompanies a move, there are a few things you can do to make a move a little less traumatic for yourself and your family.
To prepare for your move and keep it a more positive experience, here are 7 important steps to follow for a smoother transition for everyone involved.
1. Talk About It
Aside from your spouse, your kids should be the first people you talk to about your move. Depending on how old your kids are, their reactions may range from excitement or indifference, to anger and frustration. Encourage your kids to talk to you about how they’re feeling about the move, and be open and honest about your own feelings.
2. Stay Positive
Even if you’re dreading your move as much as your kids, don’t let them see that. Yes, it’s important to let them know that you’re feeling sad just like they are, but don’t stomp around angry and frustrated. You need to be the rock for your kids right now—your excitement will rub off on them too, eventually.
3. Get Them Involved
Let your kids help with packing, cleaning, and any other appropriate moving tasks. If they’re old enough, let them go through their rooms and decide what they to keep and what to donate, then let them pack their room themselves. Younger children can help wipe down baseboards and pack up their toys. Keep them involved and they’re likely to get on board with the move faster.
4. Prepare Documentation
Prepare the documentation you’ll need to register school-age children at their new schools ahead of time. When possible, take your kids to visit their new school before the move. If you’re staying local, register your kids before the move to eliminate the stress of doing so in the middle of unpacking.
5. Maintain a Routine
It is especially important with young children to maintain a normal routine amid the chaos of moving. Even if that simply means making sure you eat dinner together every night and read a book before bed, stick as closely as possible to your regular activities to maintain a sense of normalcy.
6. Organize Their Rooms First
As soon as the last box comes off the moving truck, it’s time to get to work setting up the kids’ rooms. Making sure your kids are surrounded by familiar things when they go to bed that first night will help immensely with the adjustment.
7. Take Them Back to Visit
Take your kids to visit their old friends the first chance you get. Maybe even consider having a housewarming party to let all of their old friends see the new house, if possible. Reconnecting with their friends helps kids feel a little more grounded in the chaos.