Written by Claire Schneider
Sure, we all know moving is no cakewalk, but for kids, the emotional toll could potentially run deeper. For most children, moving means leaving perhaps the only home they’ve ever known. Whether moving out of state or just around the block, children and adolescents typically exhibit signs of resistance at the prospect of starting a new chapter. By making a few adjustments in your approach, a life-changing move can be more cakewalk than obstacle course.
Before the move
Conduct a family meeting
Once the decision to move is finalized, call a family meeting. It’s important to keep kids involved in the moving process early in order for them to have adequate time to mentally adjust. Give them a role in selecting the new home and be sure to make it a positive and joyful experience, allowing them to voice any concerns they have.
Plan a new room
Kids’ rooms should be zones where they feel safest. It can conceivably be a scary endeavor for a child to leave it behind. Turn their frown upside down by letting them choose a design or two for their new bedroom. Bring them along shopping and listen to their ideas for paint colors and design elements. For older children, set a budget and allow them to pick out a piece of new furniture or curtains and decorative pillows. For younger children, do the same but guide them more closely as they realize their vision.
Donate old toys to a good cause
Moving is an ideal time to purge items you‘re no longer using, but some kids might stonewall the exercise out of fear of change. Instead of selling their old toys, donate them to children in need. Let your child know their toys are transferring to kids who truly need them. Your child might be comforted knowing some of their former favorites will bring joy to others.
Create a moving day plan
Kids tend to be anxious about moving primarily because the waters are uncharted. One way to help alleviate their fears is to plan out the moving day. Discuss each step in detail to eliminate surprises. If you are hiring movers, inform the kids about the movers’ purpose.
During the move
Moving day is naturally chaotic which might be overwhelming for all involved. Make it easier and more fun for by assigning age-appropriate tasks. For younger kids, give them the duty of bringing the movers water and snacks. Allow older kids to monitor when belongings are ready to be moved and charge them with handling last-minute cleaning duties. A special job for younger children is to give them the role of “Boss for a Day”.
Keep prized items organized
Kids may feel more comfortable while moving if they know their favorite toys or items are safe. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® wants to make this process memorable. Truckie’s Treasure Chest is a unique box designed for kids to pack their own items and keep them close by during the move. Children can color the box, making it personalized and unique to them.
Keep it interesting
Moving doesn’t have to be unpleasant, so why not make it fun? Play energetic music and mix in your kids’ favorites to keep everyone excited and upbeat. Make a game out of moving and see who can pack up an area the fastest or best.
After the Move
Explore the neighborhood
It’s important for children to become acquainted with their new neighborhood so they feel safe and can begin to love it as much as their old one. Give older children the responsibility to find three local fun spots the family can enjoy. This could be nearby hiking trails, a pizza parlor or an indoor adventure arena.
Join extracurricular groups
Have each child pick a group to join. It’s vital they choose something so they become more personally willing to take part in the activity. Groups could revolve around sports, drama club, or a class at the YMCA. This will allow them to meet peers and will help them adjust to the new area.
Meet your neighbors
Besides introducing yourself, think about other fun and creative ideas to meet your neighbors. For example, encourage the kids to make a lemonade stand or have a chalk drawing party. Host a cookout, or even better, involve all the neighbors and throw a block party. By working together, you could gather items such as inflatables for the kids to play in; it’s also a great way to break the ice.
Get to know the new school
The first day in a new school can be scary indeed. Talk to your tots about any fears they may have, then work to set their expectations. Most schools provide new student orientation to assist them in navigating the hallways, lockers and classrooms prior to the first day.
Look for our next blog, “Tips for Starting a New School” containing these and other excellent tips.
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.