Moving is undoubtedly stressful, and that’s before children enter the picture. Not only do you have to pack up your physical life, but you also have to brace for the unexpected changes and obstacles ahead of you in your new journey. When little ones are in the picture, that stress quadruples. You’re in charge of a tricky balancing act that entails a treacherous combination of patience, optimism, and surrendering any and all perceived control.
The Power of the Family Meeting
We all know that, when it comes to raising children, communication is everything. I’m a big fan of keeping conversations honest and transparent, and that means talking about the difficult subjects head-on, even if it feels scary.
It’s important to be upfront about the move, to tell your little ones what happened and what’s going to happen. That means outlining how you’re going to reach your new place, how you're managing the car, and how you’re timing each of these milestones.
Change is terrifying for kids- it can feel unexpected and chaotic. Allow them to openly express their feelings and concerns. Encourage them to ask questions. Keep that line of communication open- it will make the changes move smoother.
Keep, Toss, Donate
I’ve written about the incredible virtues of the KonMari method at length, and moving is one of the best times to implement her simplistic approach if you live a cluttered life.
The premise is simple: hold onto the objects that bring you joy. Eliminate the rest. Don’t overthink it, and don’t wrap yourself up with messages that you need to hold onto things for X or Y reason.
If you truly practice this art, you’ll find that you always have exactly what you need in your home. You’ll start your new life in a place that cultivates joy and peace- rather than feeling bogged down by excess clothing, toys, or knick knacks. And don’t forget the power of recycling and donating! You know what I’m going to say here: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Have a Viewing and Exploring Party
If it’s at all feasible, show your new home to the kids before move-in date. Let them get an accurate feel for what the place brings. Have them wander around the neighborhood and get a grasp of what the community feels like.
And don’t overdo it with all the praise and adoration and false promises. A home is a home is a home, and your kids may be resentful towards you for uprooting them from their familiar lives. They may also be very scared and cynical about the change. Don’t invalidate their feelings by overselling unrealistic hope and expectations.
Play Tourist in Your New Home
ONce you’ve settled into the new home and began tackling all those moving boxes, it’s a good idea to start exploring the city with your children. If they’re old enough to do their own research, encourage them to check out a guidebook or look online for interesting restaurants or parks they want to check out.
Devote some time each weekend to checking out new places and allowing your kids to get a stronger feel for the new community they’re calling home. It will help all of you feel more acclimated to your new digs.