So, you found your dream home, congratulations!
Preparations to move are in full swing. With so much to handle on a tight schedule, you’ve been busy. In the whirlwind of activity, you might not have considered how your little ones will react to moving day.
While moving can be stressful, it’s also an opportunity to teach your children that change can be really good. Here are some things you can do right now to help your child make a smooth transition….
Before the move
Communicate in advance. Give your little ones at least a month’s notice about the move. When giving them the news, be sure to tell them what will remain the same. For example, tell your child that her favorite poster will be on her bedroom wall in the new house. If she will attend the same school, tell her that. Giving your child familiar things to expect can help her find the courage to embrace what’s new.
On moving day
Consider letting your child spend a fun day with grandparents or a close family friend. If you’re moving a long distance and a play-day isn’t feasible, prepare to keep her busy. Pack a boredom bag with markers, paper and a few favorite books. Keep some tried and true dvd’s, or handheld games, to occupy her attention and center her in familiarity. Hungry people tend to be irritable, so pack a cooler with no-mess snacks and plenty of water. Your child looks to you for emotional cues, so be mindful of keeping a smile and having some fun on moving day. If you’re giving off major stress signals, your child will likely mirror your emotions.
The first night in your new home
Involve your child in deciding where to hang her artwork or what to have for your first dinner in your new place. Allowing your child to assist in this type of decision making gives her a sense of power and connection with new surroundings. Consider camping out in sleeping bags or a bedsheet tent, on the living room floor. That way, the entire family can be close together, easing bedtime anxieties and creating a fun family memory. Take a picture of your “campsite” to commemorate your first night in your new home.
In upcoming weeks
Remember that change can be tough, but children are resilient human beings. Be patient as your child adapts to her new environment. Foster exploration, meet the neighbors (especially if they have children, too!) and be there for hugs and encouragement. If your child displays signs of distress lasting more than a short time, consult with her health care provider for additional support.