Moving can upset children of any age. It frequently causes them to feel apprehensive and insecure. But, don't despair; there are many things you can do to make the moving experience less scary for your children.
Involve Them from the Very Beginning.
Tell your children as soon as you know you're moving; don't spring it on them at the last minute. Explain why you're moving in terms they can understand. Do you need more room? Are you relocating because of a new job? Be sure to explain what will happen so they'll know what to expect. This will remove a lot of the fear and confusion they may be feeling. Tell them when the move will take place and how their things will get from the old house to the new house. Be sure and answer their questions as fully as you can. Remember that your attitude about the move will rub off on them, so stay upbeat and positive. To help prepare them further, you canchoose from among many children's books available on moving. Just a couple of these are "Berenstain Bear's Moving Day" by Sam Berenstain and "Goodbye House" by Frank Asch. Check your local library for more.
Make the Move an Adventure.
If you approach the coming move as an exciting adventure for the entire family, it will help to calm your children's fears. The more positive you are about the move, the more positive they will be. Make sure they understand they won't be left behind. Ask for their suggestions and involve them in the plans. If it's possible, show them the new house and let them spend some time exploring it. Show them where their rooms will be. Help them visualize where their furniture and toys will go. Show them the yard and help them imagine all the fun they will have there. If it's impossible for them to visit the new house, take tons of photos so they'll know what it looks like and can become familiar with it. Talk about all the fun things the family will do there.
Let Them Help.
If you give your children an active role in the move they are much more likely to accept it and even grow excited about it. Let them pack some of their own belongings, even if you have to go back and repack them later. This will help them feel a part of the move. If there are old toys you don't plan to take, let the kids help decide which of them should be given away for other children to use and which should be discarded.
What to Do on Moving Day.
The best plan is to have the children stay with a family member or trusted friend on the day of the move. If this isn't possible, be sure and involve them in the moving activities. If you have a moving company, introduce your children to the workers so they'll know who's taking their stuff away. You can give them a box of their own to pack. This could be the box of special belongings you're taking in the car with you. It should include all the things your children can't live without ~ favorite stuffed animals, that special blanket, maybe their favorite pajamas. This will accomplish three things. It will keep the children occupied and feeling useful and it will also ensure that you know exactly where these special items are. You would never want to arrive at your new home not knowing where to locate Susie's scruffy old bear or Johnny's favorite action figure! It will also help the children feel secure since they have their most important belongings with them.
You're on Your Way to Your New Home.
If you're driving to your new home, make the trip exciting! If the kids can relate the move to family fun, they'll enjoy it so much more. If it's a long drive, be sure and have lots of games or books to keep the children occupied. Maybe each person could tell their own story about what they think living in the new house will be like. You'll arrive happy and anxious to start this new phase of your lives.