Moving can be a stressful time for adults. It is much more stressful for children. This can be a scary time for them. Their whole world is being flipped upside-down. Their familiar surroundiings are being packed away into boxes and the people closest to them tend to be stressed and hurried. If you are planning to move and you have small children, you’ll need to take extra steps to be sure they come through the move feeling happy and secure.
My husband and I moved when our middle son was two years old. We moved again a few years later when our daughter was two. I’ve learned one major thing during both moves…it is very important to involve children in the entire moving process. These are some tips that may help you during your next move with your kids:
- Take your children with you while you look at homes. Ask for their opinions. They come up with questions you may not have thought to ask. Besides, realtors seem to go the extra mile when they personally know the children that will be living in a house.
- Once you’ve selected a home, and if it’s possible, take your children to see it. Show them their bedroom, the yard, the playroom, everywere they will spend most of their time. Also be sure to show them your bedroom and other areas of the home you will occupy most of the time – “This is where Mommy will sleep.” “This will be Daddy’s office.” “This is where I’ll make your pancakes.” “We can put your dollhouse over here.” These types of statements help a child understand you will still be with them, as will their precious toys.
- Have them sort through their toys and decide what they will keep and what will be given away. Don’t insist they give away stuff if they don’t want to. Sometimes, once they realize they don’t HAVE to give up stuff, they do.
- If you are buying change of address cards, let them help you pick them out. It’s just another way for them to say “I am moving”.
- Let them see everything going into the moving truck. If they see mom’s stuff going AND their stuuf going too, they may feel a little better about the whole process.
- Pack the children’s things last and unpack them first. Make sure they are the last things to be boxed and sealed and label them “UNPACK FIRST” so they are the first things to come off the truck and be opened when you get to your new home.
- Let them keep a “lovey” with them. A favorite stuffed animal, a security blanket, anything that will help them through the moving process.
The more secure a child gets with the move, the more fun they will ultimately have during the move. It becomes a big adventure!