No matter how old a person is, moving can be an overwhelming and emotional roller coaster. This is especially true when your move involves children. Young children are apt to have a much more difficult time transitioning to a move because they do not fully comprehend what is happening. Are mommy and daddy going with me? Are we taking all of my toys? Will they forget to bring me with them? All of these are worries, even fears that children can experience during a move. To help make the transition easier for your little one, here are some helpful ways to make moving an exciting time verses one of apprehension and stress.
Explain what is happening. They may be young, but children are very intuitive and can sense any stress or shift in the household. As soon as possible, begin explaining the upcoming move to your child. Waiting too long to talk to your child about the upcoming move can lead to anxiety, worry and fear. By letting them gradually adjust to what it means to move, they will have a much smoother transition from old home to new.
Explore the area. If you’re moving to a place nearby, it’s a good idea to let your child see their soon-to-be home and neighborhood before moving day actually arrives. Show them the neighborhood and even explore what it has to offer: a cool park, a tasty ice cream shop, and where their future school will be. By taking the time to show your child all of the exciting places to look forward to after the move, it will provide them with a better visualization of where they will soon be living, as well as make for an easier, more positive adjustment.
Have them help. Your child may not be able to lift heavy boxes, and they may make the organization and cleaning process more difficult at times, but it’s important to find ways for them to help you with the move – no matter how small the job is. So get them involved; let them be mommy and daddy’s little helper. Try simple tasks like tearing small pieces of packing tape or having them place all of their stuffed animals into a moving box. Being enthusiastic about having them help you will connect them positively to the idea of moving instead of rebelling against it.
Let their imagination run free. If there’s one thing children have it’s an imagination. Moving may just be a mountain of stress and cardboard boxes to you, but to a little kid, it can be a time for great imagination. You may not feel the urge to sit in a cardboard box, because, well … it’s a box. But for your child, a box can be so much more than that. It can be a car, a rocket ship, or even a camping tent.
Another good idea is to let them help you with the decorating process. While you probably won’t want to let them color or paint the walls, you can instead sit them in front of a piece of paper and have them draw a picture of how they want their new room to look. This is a great way to get them involved and become excited about the move.