If you were to take a poll of everyone you met, you probably wouldn’t find a single person willing to say they actually like moving. It’s a lot of work, it is stressful, and it can be tough on the budget.
For kids, however, there is an added degree of stress that comes with moving. The younger, or more sensitive the child, the harder the transition.
Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce the stress and anxiety a move might have on your young ones. Here are three steps to get you started:
1. Get children involved in the moving process
One reason moving is so stressful for kids is because it is something over which they have no control. They already have a home which they feel is safe and comfortable, and then they are told their home is changing. For younger, or more sensitive children, this can create a great deal of anxiety. You can reduce this by giving your children a more active role in the process.
Children can look at pictures of potential new homes and give their input. They can help find a new park, library, and grocery store for the family. They can also make “we're moving” postcards to inform family, friends, and businesses of the new address.
These little things can help them feel like they are in control, safe, and a part of the process.
2. Maintain some form of routine
The loss of familiarity can be difficult for adults, but it can be downright frightening for children. Children like routine, and nothing upsets a routine more than moving.
You can help your kids adjust by looking for ways to maintain a degree of familiarity.
Keeping family theme nights such as “Movie Friday” or “Pasta Monday” can help make life seem more normal. You can also recreate the child's bedroom in the new home before unpacking the rest of the house, so they instantly have a safe zone.
Also, don't insist on other changes during the move, pick another time to worry about changing habits!
3. Relax the rules
Moving can be exciting, especially if you're moving due to a new job or because you've found your dream home. Often times, that excitement gets undermined by the work and stress of the process. Help everyone focus on the excitement by relaxing on the rules a bit.
You don't have to let the kids run wild, just let them stay up a bit later or have more computer time. Make sure your child knows that this is a limited-time offer. This helps them appreciate the extra freedom more and sets up the expectation that things will go back to normal when you're all settled in.
Be it across town, or across the country, moving means you're off to your next adventure. Take the opportunity to focus on the positive.
Listen to your kids’ opinions, work to preserve familiarity, and give your kids a bit of a break during the process. It will not just be better for the kids, it will be easier on everyone!