We have all probably had to do it at least once in our lives; move away from our friends (and perhaps family) to relocate to a new area. This can be difficult for adults, but for children, it can spell disaster and doom. This transition into the unknown is not only scary for kids, but it can be very stressful for parents trying to make the move go smoothly for all involved. Let’s take a look at some top tips for helping kids make a major move.
1. Get everyone involved: Kids most often feel powerless when it comes to a major life decision like moving to another city, state or even country. This can’t always be helped, so to ease the blow, let the kids weigh in on what they would like in a new home or even a new neighborhood. Perhaps your kids have always wanted a huge tree in their backyard, a park close by or their own rooms. Try to incorporate their desires and wishes when looking for your next perfect home. It not only makes them feel like their opinion counts, but it gives them something to look forward to.
2. Let the kids choose their decorating: If your child has a room to themselves, let them pick out the colors and where their bed, dresser and other furniture will go. This helps your child transition from their old familiar room to a new and exciting project. Letting them add their own special touch and flair to a new room will make it less scary and will even allow your child to express themselves in a new and wonderful way.
3. Keep special items close and treasured: Before the confusion of the move begins, sit down one day and made a treasure box with your child. Find a box big enough to hold all their special treasures, then let your child decorate it with paint, crayons, stickers etc. Once it’s finished have your child pack all those special items into it. On moving day, let your child take this box with them in the car. This is a great way to ensure them that those items they hold dear to their heart will stay close to them during the move.
4. Throw a going away party: Let your child invite their friends over for a goodbye party. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it’s a great way to let your child gain closure on his/her past relationships.
5. Make a memory book: Building a memory book with pictures of friends and family, or parts of the neighborhood that your child loved is a nice reminder of the past. If you finish this book before the party, leave it out so friends can write special goodbyes that your child will always have close. This is also a practical place to keep email addresses so good friends are only a click away.
6. Take a final walk around the neighborhood and those special places: Let your child take one final tour around the neighborhood, school, parks or even a special neighbor or babysitter. This provides your child with the opportunity to say goodbye and again helps with closure.
7. Say goodbye to the old house: During a family meal go around the table and ask each family member to recall a fun memory they had in the old home. This is a great way to say goodbye to the old. During this time let your kids know that the new house will be filled with adventure and excitement, too.
Moving away doesn’t have to be filled with cries of anguish and threats of ruined lives. Let your child process the decision to move and deal with it in their own manner. Moving away from (perhaps) the only home they have known can be frightening for a youngster, so be sure to give them the love and support they need to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.