Moving to a new home causes an emotional reaction in everyone. Excitement, nervousness, and sadness can affect people of any age as they transition from one place to another. Children feel these emotions more intensely because of their inexperience with change. Parents can use the following steps to make moving easier for children and themselves.
1. Let Them Help
Part of the stress associated with moving is the work involved in packing and cleaning. It is understandable to want to complete these tasks quickly and with as few interruptions as possible. Not allowing children to contribute can make the process seem frightening. Instead, have them help by packing non-breakables and performing basic cleaning tasks.
2. Pack a Backpack
Keep their most treasured possessions in a backpack or another take-along bag separate from the items packed and shipped by the moving company. Include a security blanket, favorite toy, nightlight, and bedtime storybook. Allow them to bring this bag with them while traveling. These security items will help them feel safe and more comfortable. It will also avoid the hurried late-night unpacking to find something the child must have to fall asleep.
3. Accept Their Emotions
Moving exhausts everyone, and parents can experience additional stress when a temperamental child acts out. Acknowledge and allow children to feel and express their emotions. Dismissing fears or sadness will not make the emotion go away.
4. Keep Normal Routines
Children feel more secure when they have the predictability of a routine. Staying on schedule during and after the move can help them relax and settle into their new home. Even when taking time off from work and school, keep normal sleep and meal schedules to provide consistency.
5. Give Them Control
Enable the kids to have some say on where things will go in the new house and their bedroom. Allow them to decorate and set up their space. Have them choose what cupboard in the kitchen will hold the snacks. A little control over their new surroundings can help them feel more confident and at home in the new house.
6. Plan Some Fun
Schedule a day off from unpacking after arriving at the new home. Research what the area offers for families and plan a full day of exploring and activities. The excitement will make memories for everyone and help them to have a positive impression of their new town.
7. Stay in Touch
Homesickness can develop even after people settle into their new life and surroundings. To combat these feelings, ensure they can contact their friends and family left behind. Schedule online video chats with family members and friends so they can stay in touch.
8. Take Personal Time
Self-care keeps parents healthy, rested, and happier. A calm and rested parent will handle more easily the emotions and energy of a nervous or excited child. It is worth the effort to take personal time. Take a long shower, enjoy a nap, or go for a solo afternoon walk. Even short breaks from the noise and work can help rejuvenate the mind and body.