Transitioning from one home to another can be both an amazing, and traumatic experience for kids. On one hand, they are starting a whole new chapter filled with excitement and on the other, they are leaving behind possibly the only home they’ve ever known. Moving with children is definitely not something you’ll find in a parenting book, but we’ve compiled some tips that we think will make the process easier.
Timing is Everything
If you have school aged children, try to time your move when they’re out of school. If you’re staying in the same school district, spring or winter breaks will suffice. If you’re moving to a new school district, most experts agree that summertime is the smartest choice, allowing them to start at a new school at the beginning of the school year. If a midyear move cannot be avoided, we’ll address that in a different post.
Infants and Toddlers
This age group, typically birth to 3 years, will most likely barely notice a move. It’s important to keep favorite toys out as long as possible, packing them up last and unloading them first. This will keep the child from feeling like they’re being punished and help keep them occupied while boxes are coming and going. Make sure to keep sippy cups for toddlers and bottles for babies handy and a fully stocked diaper bag nearby to keep these little ones happy.
The 4-12-year-old bracket can be a little more difficult. They have established friends and extracurricular activities and will resist a move more than the younger ones. Give them the opportunity to say goodbye to friends. Host a small party or plan an outing at a favorite local spot. If they are on a non-school sports team, see if it’s feasible to let them finish the season, it may be a considerable amount of running, but it will go a long way towards keeping them from feeling uprooted prematurely. Take them out to do something fun as soon as possible after the move to help them accept their new surroundings.
It’s a good bet that if you’re a parent of a teenager, you’re already pulling your hair out daily. Raising a teen is possibly the most challenging time of being a parent and moving with teens is no simpler. This age will have defined social circles and will start to see themselves as adults. Control over their life becomes very important at this age and a move will certainly leave them feeling helpless.
Be completely honest with them, let them know why the family is moving, why it is important, and assure them that you will do whatever you can to make things easier in the new location. Give them the opportunity to pack their own room so they know where all their things are and conversely have them unpack at the new house, so they can decorate their space. As mentioned above, allow them ample time to say goodbye to friends, and if possible, make arrangements to meet up with these old friends periodically.
Raising kids is hard work, any parent will agree to that. Sleepless nights, teething, potty training, last minute projects and teaching them to handle all of life’s curveballs can make parenting one of the most underpaid and high stress jobs in the world.
Packing them up and moving them to a brand-new house, and potentially brand-new area can shake even the most adept parent. Hopefully our tips and tricks will give you the confidence to pull this next move off with style and add to your qualifications as the world’s greatest mom or dad.