Moving can be tough on children. A recent study found that kids who move frequently have fewer close friendships and lower life satisfaction as adults. Fortunately, parents can help ease the transition.
That’s important because census data shows that more families are moving again. Migration is up after a few years when the recession kept Americans on hold waiting to see what would happen to home prices and employment prospects.
If you’re planning to relocate, consider these tips. See how to turn moving day into less of a trial and more of an adventure for all ages.
Things to Do Before Moving Day
1. Radiate positive energy. Be upbeat about the changes you’re making. Your children will be reassured by your cheerful attitude, especially if you’re in the midst of difficult circumstances like a divorce.
2. Consider your timing. If the decision on when to move is in your hands, think about how to minimize the impact. Generally, kids under 6 will experience the least disruption while teens have a lot invested in being around for prom and graduation.
3. Talk it over. In any case, discuss your plans. Hold a family meeting and spend one-on-one time with each child. Listen to their concerns and answer questions candidly.
4. Hand out assignments. Invite each family member to participate in the process. Small kids can sort their toys or stick labels on boxes, while the older ones can work on room plans and mapping out routes.
5. Arrange babysitting. On the other hand, you can wrap up dishes and glasses faster without toddlers running around. Hire a baby sitter or ask a friend to watch them.
6. Research the neighborhood. Preview your new hangouts. Browse online together to check out libraries, parks, and ice cream parlors.
7. Visit your new home. If possible, take a walk through your next residence. If that’s not feasible, take photos that you can share with your kids to start generating excitement about that big backyard or extra bathrooms.
Things to Do on Moving Day and Beyond
1. Enjoy playtime. Some markers or crayons can turn a cardboard box into a puppet theater or play oven. Take a break to walk around the block or toss a Frisbee.
2. Bring personal boxes. Ask each family member to prepare a box with items they’ll want right away like their teddy bear or toothbrush. Keep them close by along with a cooler full of snacks
3. Set up kids’ rooms first. Kids will feel more relaxed if they have a spot they can call their own. Install their bed and curtains before you tackle the other rooms.
4. Eat a fun dinner. Order your family’s favorite takeout meal or throw together something easy like sandwiches or chili that you made ahead of time. Spread out a picnic blanket, and take a picture.
5. Regulate your schedule. Give your kids a sense of consistency by sticking to your usual bedtimes. Observe your shared rituals like Sunday morning bagels and Monday night movies.
6. Talk with your child’s teacher. Meet your child’s teacher as soon as possible so you can collaborate on getting oriented to a new school. Check in after a month or two to ask for feedback on how your child is adapting.
7. Connect with friends. Staying in touch with old classmates and forming new relationships will help your child to thrive. Brainstorm different approaches while letting them proceed at their own pace.
Moving is hard work, but it can draw your family closer together as you team up to hunt for cardboard boxes and fill out change of address cards. Think positive and help your children to love their new home.