How Can You Help Your Kids Adjust to an Upcoming Move?

Adjusting to a move with kids
Adjusting to a move with kids

Moving is stressful and exciting

Moving to a new city can be stressful and exciting all at the same time.  For kids, the change can be hard to accept and prepare for, since kids often times resist change.  They like their current home, their friends, and their school and now they feel as if they are starting over again. Granted, pre-school aged kids may have an easier time with the adjustment than high school aged kids, yet it’s a drastic change regardless. When is the right time to move? How can you help your kids adjust to an upcoming move?

Prepare them ahead of time

Don’t wait to tell your kids that a move is in their future.  They need time to think about things, prepare mentally for the change, so let them know as soon as possible.

Get them involved

Having the kids take part in the house-hunt will make them feel like their opinion matters.  This allows them to also start getting familiar with the area and their new neighborhood and schools.  Also research the new city and surrounding areas and highlight the ‘cool’ features or attractions that the new area will provide, and maybe what’s different and interesting from their current city.

Timing is important

If you can avoid a move during mid-school-year, do that.  It’s usually harder for children to jump into a classroom when the year is in full swing because many friendships are already set and it’s harder to break into the social scene and shift gears academically.  If you need to move during the school year, attempt to time it with a break – like at Christmas or spring break.  And spend time talking with the new school to make the transition as easy as possible.

Say Farewell

It’s important for kids to have a chance to say goodbye.  And although those goodbyes can be hard, it’s also part of the process to switch from the old home to the new one.  So consider a gathering or party with all the friends and neighbors invited.  And make an effort to stay connected with their favorite friends, teachers and families.

Give up some control

Since the family move rarely is the kids’ decision, allowing them some control in the process is important.  Allow them to have a say in their bedroom and how they want it decorated or set-up.  This ownership will give them their own space that they love and feel safe in, in a home that is new to them and during a big time of transition.

Get involved

As a parent, jump in with both feet.  Get involved as soon as possible with school groups or church groups and be sure to meet the neighbors.  Be a model to your child about how to embrace the new city and show them how meeting new people can be fun and exciting.  Making new friends and connections as a parent may also be a bridge to new friends for the kids as well.

Keep the door open

It’s a big deal for kids to move to a new city, so keep the door open for communication with your child.  There are a lot of mixed emotions, sadness, feeling nervous but excited, too.  Talk to your child about how you feel too – just keep the line of communication open and be willing to listen and affirm their feelings.

There is so much to do to prepare for a move as an adult and a family, beyond the packing and unpacking.  Take the time and do what you can to help your kids adjust to the move ahead of time.  Hopefully the transition will be a smooth one for all of you.

The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.

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