Moving with Kids? 6 Tips for a Smooth Transition
Moving, even during the most ideal of circumstances, is a complicated affair. There are so many logistics to consider: What moving company should I hire? When should I start getting quotes? When do I need to start packing? And now, each one of these micro-decisions is complicated by a global pandemic.
If you are moving with kids, though, you are dealing with a whole different level of challenges. On top of everything else, moving with children can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be this way. So before you resign yourself to being miserable for the next several months, let’s look at these six expert tips for a smooth transition for the whole family.
1. Talk It Out
Let’s face it. Change is hard on everyone. Even the best changes leading to incredible new opportunities for the whole family can seem scary at first. Often what helps the most is talking it out.
Tell your kids about the move as soon as possible after you’ve made the final decision. Then, throughout the process, check-in to ask them the following questions:
What do you think about the move?
What are you most excited about?
What are you most worried about?
What can I do to make this easier for you?
Also, make sure your children feel safe and comfortable coming to you to ask questions. They may have a lot of them. So remain open and answer honestly in an age appropriate manner.
2. Acknowledge Your Child’s Emotions
Because moving is a big change, big emotions may come along for the ride. Unfortunately, emotions don’t always respond to logic and reason the way we would prefer. Instead of trying to talk your kids out of what they’re feeling, it’s best to acknowledge these feelings, listen, and try to withhold judgment.
In many cases, when your child expresses anger, fear, or sadness, all they really need is for you to be present with them as they work through their emotions.
3. Set Up Playdates
One of your child’s biggest fears is likely about losing old friends and having to find new ones in a new place. You can mitigate these fears by setting up playdates with current friends to say “good-bye” and playdates with potential friends in the new neighborhood.
Also, be sure to point out the ways in which your kids can stay connected to old friends. For example, if you’re moving neighborhoods, but your kids aren’t changing schools, remind them that they’ll still see each other at school. If your children are older, help them stay connected with distant friends on social media or by using video chat.
4. Play Up the Positive
As a top real estate expert, I’m a pro at playing up the positives for both potential buyers and sellers. Borrow a page out of my playbook and do the same for your kids. What are the kid-friendly features of the new home?
Here are some examples:
Is there a playground in the neighborhood?
How about a big yard with room for a treehouse?
Are there bike or walking trails to explore?
Will there be more space in the new home?
Will kids get their own rooms, new furniture, or get to pick out their own paint and bedroom decor?
Do a good job of selling your new home to your kids and they’ll feel right at home in no time.
5. Make a Moving Plan Together
Smooth transitions also happen when your kids take ownership of the change. You can give them a sense of agency by encouraging them to get involved in the planning process. Enlist their help in figuring out the logistics of the move. They can make checklists for packing and count down the days to the big move on a calendar, for instance.
You may be surprised at how easy it is for everyone to take the move in stride when you send the message that “we’re all in this together.”
6. Accept Time for Adjustment
Finally, be forgiving and willing to give your kids the time they need to adjust to their new surroundings. We all react to big changes in different ways, but if you’re attentive and open to giving your children the space they need to adapt, you’ll all survive and thrive after your big move.
Moving with kids does present some unique challenges. But if you follow these six tips, you will be well equipped to handle this big life change with flying colors!