Moving Day can either be a very exciting time, or a very stressful time for children. They are leaving what is familiar, and moving into the unknown, whether it be in the same neighborhood or across the country.
If you know several months in advance that you will be moving, start weeding out any toys or items your children could view as “treasures”. Be careful not to associate moving with having to sell or donate toys (ie. “Jeff, we can’t take all these toys with us when we move.”) You shouldn’t link one to the other, or your children will resent moving to a new house, because it means a loss of treasured possessions.
Ask your children to wait at the new house with a friend or a family member. A vacant house or apartment can be an exciting thing to explore. Even things such as “what do you think made those indents on the carpet” can lead to a game of imagining what was there before.
Upon arrival at the new house, give each child a job, no matter how big or small it may be. This gives them a role of importance with the move and their new house.
Children often take their cues from you. If this move is upsetting to you, your children will sense your stress and mirror it themselves. If you talk about the house as nothing but an exciting and much-looked-forward-to event, they will take their cue from you.
If you are moving to a brand new town, find out in advance what there are for children. Excitement over moving to a town with an aviation museum or a waterpark can help children when moving day comes. And as busy as moving is, be sure to follow up with a trip to one of the new places within a week of moving, especially if your children are having trouble adjusting.
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