Tips For Moving With Children
Brought to you by University Moving and Storage over in Farmington Hills.
Statistically speaking, families that have young children are the most likely to make a cross-country move. Yet young children, who don’t have the conceptual understanding or the coping abilities that adults and teenagers have, may be the most likely to be traumatized by this event. Here are some tips to help you take preventive action and minimize the stress and trauma for your children during your next move.
Older children should be told about a move well in advance, but even if your child is just a toddler, you can start setting the stage several weeks beforehand by including some kids’ books about moving in your regular storytime together. This will give your child a frame of reference to connect to when you start talking about moving to a new house or rental property. Be sure to patiently answer any questions your child may have as well, and try some additional techniques such as:
- Take your child to see the new home, if possible, and explore it before moving in.
- Give your child concrete benefits for the move (such as having a designated playroom at the new home).
- Put a positive spin on all the new things you and your child will be gaining to reduce emphasis on what’s left behind.
- Try to plan some time for a special family activity that only happens when you’re moving.
- Consider having a new toy waiting for your child at the new home so your child has more to look forward to when moving.
It’s also possible to lessen your child’s anxiety by making him or her as much a part of the process as possible. Feeling unable to control the situation is one of the big reasons why moves are stressful for kids. You can help your child regain a feeling of control by:
- Allowing your child to make choices, such as what color to paint his or her new bedroom
- Including your child in family decisions, such as who gets which bedroom
- Allowing him or her to help throughout the entire process instead of being sent to a babysitter on moving day
Shortly before the big day, discuss with your child what the day will look like for him or her and outline the plan for the day, listing what your child will be doing during each block of time (packing, traveling to the new home, etc.). Here are some suggestions that can keep him or her occupied and grounded during the move-out process and the ride to your new home:
- Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities (such as packing up his or her toys) as a way to stay busy and feel needed.
- Make sure your child’s room is the last one to get packed, reducing the amount of time he or she is separated from familiar belongings.
- Let your child put favorite toys and books in a box that will ride in the car with you.
- Discuss with your child what books and games to pack for the car ride, then pack a few extras just in case.
It’s also important to have your child help unpack so he or she can see that you still have all of your old belongings. Young children may get confused when they see everything getting taken away in boxes, and they may worry that the belongings are gone for good.
Jump-start the settling-in process by making the effort to unpack your child’s room first. This can help reduce anxiety as familiar items come out of boxes and the space starts to look like a usable bedroom. Have your child help unpack the kitchen or bathroom next so he or she can be part of the process of turning the house into your new home.
With these tips, you can plan a move that’s less stressful for your child and consequently for everyone. Although your child may still miss the old house for a while, this is a stage that should pass as he or she gets more comfortable with and fond of your new home.
Author bio: Elise Benedict-Howard is CEO and majority owner of University Moving and Storage. Benedict-Howard began her career with University Moving and Storage as bookkeeper in 1978. Throughout the years, she has consistently given back to the business community as a board member, adviser and mentor for several institutions and individuals.