TIPS FOR A FAMILY MOVE
Well, the big day is approaching. After all the time you spent searching for just the right home, all the uncertainty of negotiations and home inspections, moving day has arrived. This event can be stressful for everyone, but especially for children. How can you complete this giant task efficiently without losing your mind? Here are a few tips.
BEFORE THE MOVE
Make sure that you complete administrative tasks, such as forwarding your mail and transferring school records, well ahead of time so that you will not have to worry about these in all the stress of moving. Don’t forget to cancel any services like lawn-mowing or trash collection. Some of the expenses of moving can take you by surprise, so be sure to create a budget that takes into account packing materials and travel, as well as something extra for emergencies.
No matter how you may be feeling, do not discuss any negative aspects of the move around your children. They will pick up on any anxiety or sadness that you convey, so make sure to frame this change in a positive light for them. It’s also helpful to involve them in the planning as much as possible by allowing them to choose their rooms and offer input as to arranging furniture and other items.
DURING THE MOVE
Let your children pack their own special bags of items to have with them during the move. This will help them feel more secure and give them more of a sense of control over surroundings during this stressful time. Also be sure to incorporate time for fun in your busy moving schedule. Take turns with your spouse bringing children to a park or a play date while the other person works on packing. If you have a long car ride to the new home, break it up by stopping to do fun things along the way.
AFTER THE MOVE
On your first night in the new home, have a “family camp-out” together in one of the rooms. This makes it feel like an adventure and will also help kids feel more secure. Help them feel more in control by allowing them to make decisions about their new rooms and how they want to set them up and decorate them.
Get back into your old routine, in terms of mealtimes and bedtime, as quickly as possible. Sign the kids up for some classes or clubs in the new area so that they have an opportunity to make new friends. Don’t forget to bring them to visit their new school and to meet their new teachers.
As stressed and frantic as you may be feeling, remember that moving is a difficult time for children. They are leaving behind old friends and familiar surroundings. Take time to answer their questions and explain new routines ahead of time, and above all, be patient as they mourn the loss of the things they are leaving behind.
With patience and planning ahead, you can help make the huge task of moving easier on your children and everyone else too.