Although the official end of summer is looming and the new school year has arrived, most people have already completed their move for the season. Still, not everyone chooses to switch living quarters in the middle of the hot, dry summer. Are you and your family preparing for a fall or winter move? One thing you should add to your growing to-do list is to not forget that your child(ren) can play a vital role in the transition.
Moving to a new place is usually the result of common life circumstances both good and bad–marriage, divorce, birth, death, new job or job loss. Regardless of the reason for your move, the goal here is to try not to skip a beat for the sake of all children involved. Even if you are not looking forward to a new place, keep a smile on your face. Kids can sense when something is wrong. Reassure them that everything will be okay.
Don’t Leave the Kids Out
Of course you shouldn’t choose your next apartment or home based on what your young child thinks. At the same time, don’t completely discount them. Kids are honest. And while their candid attitudes may be improper at times, it could come in handy now. When visiting properties, ask your child to use their senses and share (privately) what he or she sees, hears and smells. They might pick up on something unpleasant that you would have missed.
Exaggerate the Positives
Is your kid bummed about moving? Try to boast the benefits of living somewhere new. Will they get a bigger room, or better yet–their own room? Will they finally be able to own a pet? Will they live closer to friends or their favorite family members? Try to find the upside to moving that your child will appreciate. It’ll give them something to look forward to while making the move seem like less of a negative experience.
Tips by Age Group
- When packing toys, be sure to explain that you aren’t throwing those things away. If you get access to your new place early, you can gradually bring toys over so the child can begin to see where his or her things now belong.
- On moving day, arrange for someone to watch your child. They are too young to help out, and it’s far too dangerous for them to be in the way.
- It may be best not to attempt things like potty training or transitioning your toddler from a crib to a bed. Let them get used to the new place first.
- Too much change might be too stressful on a child, so avoid additional transitions like new bedroom furniture. If possible, arrange their new room like their old room at least for a few months to avoid sensory overload. A new place in a new neighborhood plus new furniture is just too overwhelming for some children.
- It’s likely that this age group is unpleased with the move because it will take them away from their friends. However, put a spin on it. They’ll eventually have to move away for college and/or work. Moving to a new place now is great practice.
- Are you still within driving distance of your old neighborhood? Go back and visit every now and then. This will let your teen know that just because you moved doesn’t mean you can’t maintain some closeness to where they grew up.
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