Buying a new home can be very exciting for adults, but it can evoke a whole lot of fear in children. Summer break is when many families decide to make a move since children are frequently on break. But regardless of the timing, it's helping children understand the reason for the move that will help pack away kids' moving blues.
Some 10 million school-age children move each year in America, according to Gabriel Davis, author of The Moving Book: A Kid's Survival Guide. She writes about tips and activities that give children a little extra attention to help them better handle a move.
Davis writes that giving kids something to focus on like a new activity that they'll be able to participate in, once they get to their new home, can help get them excited about the move.
Helping kids deal with a move has a lot to do with how parents handle the move says Life Coach, Brook Montagna of Mindful Life Coaching. She believes easing children's moving blues starts with first addressing whatever factors are causing stress in the parents' lives.
Have the Right Attitude
"Lots of times we'll focus on how difficult this is going to be for the children, but we forget to manage our own stress and that kind of filters down to the kids," says Montagna.
Parents should make sure that they are getting the rest they need and are taking good care of themselves so that they're able to be available to the kids. Montagna says sometimes kids are reacting to their parent's irritable attitudes rather than really being deeply affected by the move. Remember, be a role model for children so they can follow in your footsteps.
Announcing the Move
Montagna recommends getting kids, who are old enough to understand, involved as soon as possible. "Start to talk about it in a really positive way and that's going to help the kids to have a positive picture in their minds of this move," says Montagna.
Parents can spend some time with kids making a collage or poster with brochures and photos of the new location and their new home to get kids eager to see it.
Reassuring Teens and Pre-Teens
Reassurance is critical for kids to help them with the moving process. Montagna says let the kids know that they will be able to stay in contact with their friends through e-mails, phone calls, letters and even having their friends come out to visit at their new home.
"Also, you may want to talk to them about some new privileges that they didn't have at their old home or new opportunities. They really need to see something positive. So you have to know your kids and really what it is that would motivate them and address that," explains Montagna.
Furniture and Room Decorations
"Even though you might be excited about changing their furniture, the younger child does better when some things remain the same," says Montagna. For at least a couple of months after the move, children under about age four should have their new room similar to their old room because it's comforting to them. Things such as the same bedding and bed should be used until they seem settled in and comfortably adjusted to the new home.
Montagna says that older kids should be allowed to participate in decorating their rooms by selecting colors and deciding furniture arrangement. "The more you involve them in those kinds of decisions and in the actual tasks of doing it, the better the move will go because then they really feel a part of it and it's exciting for them," explains Montagna.
Goodbye Old Home
Montagna suggests buying the kids address books and having them fill them out with their friends. Also, preparing cards that have the kids' names and address on them and then giving them to the children to hand out is another way for them to talk with their friends about the move.
A goodbye to the old home can be very satisfying for kids. "Something light and simple where they say thank you and that they're grateful for the time spent there and that they are moving on, so that kids get a chance to say goodbye," says Montagna.
Hello New Home
Then, once in the new home, a ritual or annual tradition to celebrate the home can help children welcome their new environment.
Try sending a postcard from your old location to your new one. Who better to welcome the kids than your own family?