A Guide to Moving with Kids

Many experts consider moving or relocating to be one of the most stressful times of a person’s life. Leaving behind familiar activities, places, and friends can create anxiety for the entire family, kids included. Moving can be both physically and emotionally stressful. Parents must try to juggle work, packing, and parenting with the emotional drainage of starting all over and trying to blend into a new community. Although moving can be a stressful period in one’s life, relocating may be for exciting reasons, such as for a better job or promotion while getting the opportunity to discover new parts of the world and experience new customs that may be foreign to you. The following resources will provide families with advice, tips, and tricks for a successful move with the kids.

When finally deciding its time to move, it’s important to break the news to the family, especially the children, in a delicate manner. Don't wait or hesitate to tell the kids about the move, they will need time to get used to the idea and for it to sink in. It may take even more time to get the kids excited about relocating to a new place, although some kids may never get excited or look at the move in a positive way. Allow every member of the family to participate in the move. This may include choosing a new house together, planning and packing items in your home together, and assuring the kids that their contributions to the move are greatly appreciated. Older children may help by putting boxes into the car or moving van to get them involved throughout the relocation process and more in-tuned with the idea.

If you plan on moving with a pet, it’s important to pre-plan the trip to make it as smooth and relaxing for the animal as possible. Be sure that you have all the essentials for caring for your pet prior, during, and after the move. It may be beneficial to the pet and pet-owner to keep the animal in a kennel during the moving process to avoid excess stress to both parties. Allow your pet plenty of time to get used to his or her new home. They may be frightened for the first few days. Extra attention during this time will usually help to sooth the pets’ nerves. Be sure to attain a new veterinarian if needed, all health records, identification, and transportation needs for your pet.

To ensure the move is a little easier for the kids, create a plan for their room such as where to place furniture, what colors to paint their walls, and how they will rearrange their new room. Give each child a task to complete to speed the process along. This can include donating or selling unused toys or out-grown clothing, and sorting items in their room and storing them in boxes. Have your child make a special bag or box of moving-day essentials. This kit should include their favorite items, as well as books and games to keep them busy on the road. Be sure to make the entire moving process fun and up-beat to keep the children enthused about this new stage in their life.

After moving in your new home, you may be in a frenzy of emotions. Although you may not be completely finished moving, it’s okay to take a slight break to enjoy family time and help each person make the transition into their new home. Be prepared to re-introduce house rules and deal with sudden mood changes in cranky or tired children. Make the post-relocation a good experience by helping the kids unpack, set up their new rooms and explore the backyard and neighborhood. Create a family welcoming event for your new home, such as planting a family tree or gathering for a family photograph to make the move a special event.

Moving can be a life-changing experience for many families, especially children who have had a consistent routine prior to the relocation. Be sure to stay in touch with old friends and family and plan up-coming activities with new friends in the neighborhood. With the right planning, a family move can be a great experience for everyone involved.

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