Moving to a New City: Helping Kids Adjust

A solo move to a new location can be tough. A family move… well, that can be an adventure – and a huge challenge! Moving with kids poses many unique challenges, and as parents, our job is to support our children through this difficult time. Though boxes and tasks may be piling up around you at rapid speed, take the time to look at some of the things you can do to make moving easier for your kids.

Communicate. Moving is a time full of change. A new place to live, a new town to discover, and lots of goodbyes to familiar people and places. How will your children cope? The best way to help your kids deal with all of the changes being thrown their way is to communicate with them. Talk to them about the decision to move and the new area they will be living in. Encourage them to ask questions and express how they feel about moving. Communicating with your children about their concerns and preparing them for each step of the moving process will help ease any anxiety or fears they may have.

Plan a Field Trip. A great way to get your children excited about moving is to let them visit their new home or city. So plan a field trip. Take your kids for a drive around their soon-to-be neighborhood. Let them see the outside (and inside, if possible) of their new home. During this time, be sure to point out specific spots that will be of interest to them – parks, toy stores, or a cool museum or shop. Being able to visually see where they will be living will help make your kids feel more at home before the move has even taken place.

Visit Their School. When your children are going to a new school, both you and your children will be nervous. It’s only natural. You may have questions like: “Is it a good school?”, “Are the teachers and staff friendly?”, or “What sort of curriculum do they follow?” Your kids will also have lots of questions, such as: “Will I make any friends?” or “Will I be able to find my classroom(s) or lunchroom?” To ease everyone’s nerves, take the time to visit the school before their first day. (Be sure to make an appointment first!) During your visit, check out all the key places – their classroom(s), cafeteria, gym, auditorium, etc. No matter whether your kids are in elementary school or high school, seeing their school ahead of time will reduce everyone’s anxiety.

Learn Fun Facts. Yes, moving to a new city can be very stressful and involve a lot of hard work. While it is easy to become wrapped up in all of the difficult tasks you have to deal with, don’t forget to focus on the good parts of your move too. Kids feed off their parents’ moods, so if you are constantly stressed and vocalizing your worries and fears about the move, your children will quickly become worried and fearful, too. A good way to make the relocation experience more fun and exciting is to research some interesting things about your new city. Are there any yearly festivals that happen? Are there any major sports teams to root for? What is the most popular pizza joint? Learning interesting facts about your new city will make your move more exciting and will also help everyone feel more “in the loop”.

Keep a Routine. There is no denying that moving house is a chaotic time. Most of your spare time will be taken up with dealing with moving tasks like organizing and packing. Unfortunately, this can lead to usual family routines being disrupted. As you probably already know, kids do best when having a set routine. (Hey, you probably do too!). But when schedules become jumbled and lost during a move, kids can become anxious, worried and upset. Your best bet is to try and stay as close to your children’s usual routine as possible. Have dinner or watch a show together like normal. Keep bedtime routines and times the same. Doing so will keep your family much calmer and organized during a hectic time.

Wait to Pack. Young children find a lot of comfort in their surroundings. This being said, it is wise to wait to pack your children’s toys and bedroom furniture for as long as possible. Doing so will help your children maintain a sense of stability. It is also a good idea to visit your new home with your child – and some of their belongings – once or twice before you move. This way they can slowly say goodbye to their current home and become accustomed to the new one. Plus, it gives you a chance to go ahead and move some of their belongings before moving day.

Be Social. The moment you become a parent, you become a role model to your children. One thing your kids will learn from you is how to socialize. Moving to a new location means your children will need to make new friends (and you too!). For older kids and teens who have already created meaningful friendships in their current town, they will find this to be one of the hardest parts of moving. So show them how to be social. Have your new neighbors over for a casual get-together. Join a local community center or group. These are excellent ways for everyone in the family to meet new people and form new friendships after moving.

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