THE COMPLETE MOVING GUIDE
The Complete Guide to Moving With Kids: Tips, Checklists, and More
Even though moving is often an exciting time, the transition can be a considerable challenge. From choosing the right moving services to buying a new home and finding the right neighborhood, moving is stressful enough as it is. Adding kids into the mix can present even more challenges.
The thought of saying goodbye to friends, leaving your home for a new one, and being the ‘new kid’ can be overwhelming for children. And the stress your child might experience can make the moving process as a parent even more difficult.
But with the right approach, moving doesn’t have to be a negative experience for your kids. Here are some tips that will help make moving with kids a little smoother.
How relocation affects your kids
Change as a result of moving can be hard on everyone, but studies show it’s particularly difficult for young teens.
One study found that moving schools when you’re 12-14 years old significantly increase the chance of substance abuse and violent behavior — even controlling for income and psychiatric history.
This is mostly because kids in this age group are already dealing with significant changes. So, the added stress of upheaval in their social lives can be a lot to handle. If your kids are around this age, pay close attention to how they’re coping with the move.
Research shows that kids under 8 showed a minimal increase in risk for negative behaviors. But they still need help with the significant changes that a move brings — it will just look a little different.
Here are tips on how to help your kids transition during the moving process, which will — in turn — move easier on yourself, too.
How to prepare your kids for the move
Learning that they’re going to move is often hard news for kids because they don’t have control over the change. So, one of the keys to helping your kids through the transition is helping them feel like they have a sense of control.
According to the framework for behavioral change by psychologist James Prochaska, that can — and should — start before the move occurs.
The time before a change happens falls into what’s known as the “pre-contemplation stage.” This is the time when a person is resistant to change, but is aware that it needs to happen. And according to Prochaska, giving the child a reason to embrace the change or instilling the proper motivation to make the transition is key.
With your kids during a move, that often means helping them see the change in a positive light. Here are 10 tips for helping them do so:
Keep in mind that every kid is different, so finding what helps your child with the transition is crucial. That’s why regularly talking about the move is so important — it enables you to stay close to what they’re struggling with, so you can help.
Moving by the ages
The upheaval of a family move affects everyone regardless of age. Each person in your family will need your support in different ways, too.
Babies and toddlers
You’ll definitely have your hands full if you’re moving your home while having a baby or a toddler in tow.
This can be a scary time for them too because everything they’ve ever known is being changed. Make time for hugs and reassurance, making the reason you’re moving very simple, and keep their favorite things nearby: toys, books, food, and clothes. Try to keep your routines intact as much as possible for mornings, bedtimes, meals, etc.
This is the age of the question … so many questions! Embrace that and let your preschooler know why you’re moving, where to, and that their room will be the first you set up (and keep that promise), let them help as much as possible, but also let them play and safely explore their new surroundings.
Parents magazine offers some great ideas to help your preschoolers get comfortable with their new normal.