When I was younger, we moved all the time. I have moved 15 times in my life, including an overseas move to London, England. I went to 5 different schools from 6th grade to 12th grade, and it seemed like I was never able to settle down. Hopefully that won't be the case for you, but I still learned some great tips about what to prepare your child for when you're moving.
Preparing For A Move
When I was in the 6th grade, we had to sell our house fast due to my dad losing his job. I didn't understand what was going on, but I knew that it wasn't good. We were selling our beautiful 5,000 square foot home in Brentwood, Tennessee to move up north to a tiny town of Bryan, Ohio. My dad had lost his job due to company downsizing, and the only place he could get a job was in Ohio.
Talk To Your Children
My mom was the one to break the news to me. She sat down with me one day and told me that my dad had left his job and were going to be moving. We sat for a long time and she answered as many questions as she could about the move. Like "do I have to leave my school?" "Where are we moving to?" "How long will we be there?" among others.
She answered my questions truthfully and was honest about everything. She told me where we were moving was a tiny town that didn't even have a decent restaurant. I would be at a new school and I would need to make new friends. Needless to say, I wasn't happy, but talking with my mom made everything a little easier.
Tips For Moving With Your Kids
When moving, it's best to talk to your kids as much as you can. Not every child is the same, and certain age groups respond better than others.
Toddlers And Preschoolers
- Keep explanations clear and simple.
- Use a story to explain the move, or use toy trucks and furniture to act it out.
- When you pack your toddler's toys in boxes, make sure to explain that you aren't throwing them away.
- If your new home is nearby and vacant, go there to visit before the move and take a few toys over each time.
- Hold off on getting rid of your child's old bedroom furniture, which may provide a sense of comfort in the new house. It might even be a good idea to arrange furniture in a similar way in the new bedroom.
- Avoid making other big changes during the move, like toilet training or advancing a toddler to a bed from a crib.
- Arrange for your toddler or preschooler to stay with a babysitter on moving day.
- Avoid disrupting the school year.
- Gather all the information the new school will need before the move.
- Such as report cards, medical records, and birth certificates.
- Explain to them that they will meet new and great people.
- Focus on the positives of moving and make it seem like an adventure.
- Understand your teen is looking forward to big events, such as prom, homecoming, or a serious relationship.
- It is important to listen to your teen. Take their concerns seriously and let them know you're there for them.
- Express to them that this is good practice for moving away to college.
After Moving Day
Once you have moved into your new home, help your child setup their room first before you focus on any other room. You want your child to feel at home in a strange environment, and there is no better way than with a room full of their belongings.
Set reasonable expectations for your child adjusting to the move. Most teachers expect children to be settled in around 6 weeks. Some children need more time, some need less. After 6 weeks if your child is still not settled, you may want to talk to a counselor who may be able to help your child adjust.
Make sure to keep telling your child that this is a great experience and you are excited for them. I know when moved from Nashville, my mother continuously expressed how happy she was for me and it made the move much more manageable.