Moving with Kids: Mistakes to Avoid

Relocating to a new home is a big decision – especially if it involves moving your entire family. Whether you have young children or teenagers, informing them that they will soon be moving can bring on a supernova of emotions, from worry and sadness to anxiety and anger. If you are wondering how to make relocating easier on your family, be sure to avoid these common moving mistakes:

Not Answering Questions. As a parent, you know very well that kids ask a lot of questions. Why is the sky blue? Why do I have to eat vegetables?
Why won’t my friends talk to me? Along with the many questions they ask, kids are prone to worrying. This is especially true when change is imminent – like moving to a new house or city. It’s understandable if you don’t want to cause your children stress about moving. But a common mistake that parents can make is to avoid certain questions their kids have about moving. You may feel that you are protecting your kids by not talking to them about the move ahead, but this tactic can actually cause more harm than good. Sure, you don’t have to discuss with them every single detail of the move (how many boxes you’ll need, how much the movers you hire are, etc.), but covering the basics is a good choice. So create time to answer the exuberant number of questions your children have about the move. Explain to them why the family is moving, when the move will happen, what they can bring with them. Openly discussing these things is the best way to help ease them into all of the changes they will need to endure during a home move.

Waiting Too Long to Tell Them. It makes sense not to worry your kids with news of a move before knowing if it will actually take place. But a mistake you definitely don’t want to make is waiting too long to tell them. Springing a move on your kids at the last minute is guaranteed to cause them high amounts of stress and anxiety. Especially older kids and teens who will be leaving friends behind. It will take your kids time to process the idea of moving, transition away from their current lifestyle and become excited about their new home. So be sure to tell them about the upcoming move well before moving day arrives.

Doing Everything Yourself. Certain tasks in life can easily be handled by you and you alone. Believe us when we say that moving is not one of them! Moving is hard. It requires lots of time and energy, organization, planning and packing. Throw having kids into the mix and moving becomes much more difficult. Do you really want to be carrying boxes of dishes or heavy furniture while trying to wrangle your kids at the same time? We didn’t think so! Even if your kids are trying their best to be nice and helpful, being able to focus solely on making the moving transition smoother on your family will make things much easier. Hire professional movers to deal with all of the heavy lifting and truck organization. Then you can put your attention on the most important thing you are moving – your children.

Letting Young Kids Help Pack. Don’t get us wrong, it’s great to let your kids – especially teens – help pack when moving. It can even be an okay idea to let your littlest ones help pack certain things like stuffed animals. But for young kids, letting them help pack for a move can be problematic. Instead of saving you time and stress, it can actually do the opposite. With little hands at work, packing will take much longer. It will also create a high risk of items being broken or your child being hurt. For packing to be most efficient, keep your kids busy with other activities during this time.

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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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