If you’re embarking on the exciting adventure of relocating with your children, here are some tips to minimize disruption and create a positive experience:
- Talk about the move. Prepare your children early by including them in discussions about the upcoming move. Share pictures of the new home, city, schools, nearby attractions like zoo’s, museums, parks, trails to help them visualize their new location. Allow them to express negative feelings and talk through it with them. Spend time with them learning about new weather conditions, changes in landscape or new animals they will encounter in their new area.
- Make time for reading. Select some age appropriate books to read prior to the move that address common anxieties – a few suggestions are “Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe” by Susan Patron, “Where I Live” by Eileen Spinelli, “The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day” by Stan and Jan Berenstain, “Boomer’s Big Day” by Constance McGeorge or “My Very Exciting, Sorta Scary, Big Move” by Lori Attansasio.
- Sticker time. When it’s time to begin packing, create stickers for your young children to put on the moving boxes that show what’s included in the box – toys, clothes, dishes, blankets, books or shoes. This will help make them feel part of the process and get them excited about opening that toy box!
- Letting go. It might be necessary to leave behind some items due to storage issues – involving your children in donating items to a charity will give them a feeling of “doing good” for others.
- Time to celebrate. Plan special “dinners” during or after the move to take a break – letting them know that a pizza party is in the works for the move-in day will help them look forward to a special treat.
- Favorite things box. Consider letting your children pack one special box of their favorite items – whatever that might be. When it’s time to unload the moving truck, make sure these special boxes get unloaded first. You can also pack a special “surprise box” for each child – sort of a “welcome to your new home” package.
- A fond farewell. Before you leave, take time to say goodbye to the old house. Taking pictures in favorites spaces, writing a letter to the new owners or sharing memories together will help ease the transition.