Helping Children Through the Relocation Process

Providing children with the right amount of support and stability will ease both your and your children’s transition into your new home, but it's easier said than done. Moving is hard on spouses and kids, especially if they’ve already established themselves in a specific environment. Separating children from their friends, school, and home can be disruptive to their mental and physical health if not approached properly. Luckily, there are ways to minimize the anxiety your children feel as they take off into a new city. Providing the right amount of support and stability will ease both your and your children’s transition into your new home.

Breaking the News

It’s important for parents to lay the groundwork for moving early on in the process, and to keep children involved as planning proceeds. As soon as you make the decision to relocate, hold a family meeting and let your children know exactly what’s going on. Breaking the news to them a few months or weeks in advance makes a huge difference in their well being, especially when they know you’ve kept them involved throughout the process.

  • Feedback: Get their feedback once you break the news. Gather the family together for a meeting and discuss everything together. Let them know they’re being heard. It’s important that children feel as though you are listening to them and are recognizing their concerns.
  • Give Them Time:  Allow your children to process the idea of moving once you’ve announced it to them. Depending on their age, they may need a few days or weeks to truly process and become emotionally acquainted with the idea of a move.
  • Share Details: Explain everything in detail: what school they will be going to, what the new city is like, and what they should expect in this move. Be honest with your kids; this allows them to fully perceive what’s ahead of them. Make sure they understand why you’re moving, and explain to them why it’s a good thing for the family.
  • Acknowledge & Answer: Acknowledge their feelings, approach their questions openly, and give your children time to adjust to their move. It’s important for your children to address their reluctance and to address it in any way you can. At the end of the day, the most you can do is to let your children know that you are there for them and will be every step of the way.

The Planning Stages

The most important part of this step is keeping your children actively involved. Let them hold onto articles that have meaning to them, ensuring that it’s okay to keep certain items. Keep in mind, finding the right school for your children will take time. It’s important to take time for research and remain patient throughout this process.

  • Eliminate Clutter: Let them keep what has meaning to them, ensuring that it’s okay to keep certain items.
  • Introduce Them to Their New City: Visit your new home or city with them. If not, at least show them pictures in slideshow form so they’re able to visualize their new environment. Get your children excited and show them that they’ll have the same experiences, hobbies, and the chance to make new friends.
  • Let Them Help Plan Rooms: Let them pick a new theme for their bedroom- new items, colors, and going over ideas with them will keep them excited about their new room and give them something to look forward to.
  • Have a Game Plan: Plan everything out before moving day with your kids. Map out the move for them, planning out fun stops along the way if time allows. Make a family wish list of what they’d like to see in their new home and find out what would make your kids the happiest to see.

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The Move

Now that you have your home settled, school chosen, and most of your items packed away, it’s time to begin the actual move. This is an especially sensitive time for you and your family, so maintaining a dialogue throughout this process will keep everyone happy. There are always a few loose ends to tie up before the move, so keep these tips in mind. The most important thing is to continuously stay organized, maintaining all of the footwork you’ve done to build up to the big day. Stay positive, happy, and free of stress both for your own health and for your kids’ well being.

 - Saying Goodbye: Allow your kids to say goodbye to their friends, home, and environment. Keep the party positive and encourage your children to say “see you soon” instead of goodbye.

 - Let Them ExploreAllow them to experience and see the neighborhood for themselves. Once you’re settled in, host an arrival party and invite neighbors for them to meet.

 - Make Moving a Fun Event: Make moving day fun and special for your children. Let them pack their own essential box ahead of time for them to take on the road. Encourage books, small games and puzzles, make as many games as you can out of of the road trip to distract and entertain them. It’s important to remind your family that you’re all doing this together- make an adventure out of it.

 - Keep Them Active: Keep your kids busy in positive ways. Find activities that you did at your old home and recreate them for your children. Research extracurriculars to increase socialization, and help them pursue hobbies that will help your kids make new friends with similar interests.

Human Resources Today