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Moving with Children
If you're nervous about moving with children, you're not alone. Moving is nerve-wracking for even the calmest adults, and moving with kids adds additional tension, as you wonder how they will adjust to their new schools, new friends and new life. Fortunately, there are several ways in to make the process easier on your children. Here are some proven ways to reduce the stress - and increase the success - of moving with children:
- Don't wait until the last minute to tell your children about the move. Although you may be afraid that giving your child advance notice will give him more time to complain about the move, in the end, having a fair warning will allow your child to make peace with the move and to tie up his loose ends. It will also give you ample time to address your child's fears and discuss the specifics with your child before you become too busy with the details to sit and explain the moving process.
- Explain why you're moving. From a very young age, children are acutely aware of what goes on around them. If you're moving for work-related reasons, your child will understand (even if he isn't happy about it). Likewise if you're moving to be closer to aging parents to pursue a more comfortable climate. Whatever the reason is, explaining it in kid-speak will help your child understand that moving is in his best interests.
- Teach your children about your destination. No matter where you're moving, you can find interesting things to do and interesting things to know about your new city. Take some time to research your new city with your child so that he can get excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. You can even check out my location-specific moving guide for helpful information about some of the most popular moving destinations.
- Let your children participate in the moving process. Your children will feel more comfortable with the move if they are able to contribute to the effort and have a say in their future. Explain that even though you're moving with children, you don't need to bring all of their things, and that they can pick and choose what stays and what goes. Allow your children to pick the position of their beds in their new rooms, or to choose a new wall hanging or bedspread to create a new space for themselves.
- Plan an advance trip to your new city. If you have enough notice before your move, taking your children to visit their new neighborhood can be extremely beneficial. Not only will the thrill of the travel excite them (especially if it's by plane or train), but they'll be able to see firsthand some of the cool things to do there. This is also a great opportunity to go house hunting and to hear which houses your children prefer to live in. If possible, you can even show off your new office so that your children will better understand what you'll be doing. Moving with children is much easier if they have something to be excited about.
- Host a 'goodbye for now' party. Every child loves having a party, and a 'goodbye for now' party will show your child how loved he is, which will give him positive memories to carry forward. This type of party will also send your child the message that you do plan on coming back to visit your old town soon.
- Don't be afraid to discuss the past. Moving with kids is extremely difficult because they want to remember the past, but you often wish they'd focus on the future. Still, depriving them of their memories is a surefire way to slow down your integration. Compare the great things about your new town to things in your old neighborhood so that your child can see firsthand that it's 'going to be OK.' Let your child hold his memories close by, and explain that you want to help him have new, great experiences in his new neighborhood.