Moving can be difficult, overwhelming, scary, and stressful, even for adults. For children, these emotions can feel even bigger and more challenging to manage. Whether you’re moving long-distance or local, children may struggle to make sense of why they have to leave the place they’re familiar with, and they can experience a wide range of emotions from sadness to fear to anger. As a parent or guardian, you are probably wondering, “How can I make this move better for my child?” Luckily, there are certainly approaches to make a move easier for kids of all ages. Although you may need to tailor your tactics to the individual child based on their own unique traits, the basic principles remain the same. Keep reading to discover the most important steps to make your relocation more manageable for your child.
Although it may feel tempting to wait for the perfect moment to break the news to your child, it’s often counterintuitive. There usually is no flawless moment, and the longer you wait, the less time your child has to process the news and their feelings about it. In an age-appropriate way for your child, tell them about your move without sugar coating or avoiding the truth. It’s important to be direct with them, even if it feels difficult. Your child deserves to know the facts about your relocation. Depending on how young your child is, you may need to alter your communication style accordingly, but they still should receive direct communication with you regarding this big change in all of your lives.
Throughout this process, it’s important to keep an open line of communication with your child. The first time you tell them about the upcoming relocation, they may not have much to say. After all, it’s a big thing to process, and it can take time for the reality to sink in. During this initial discussion, you will want to emphasize that they can ask you any questions or share their thoughts and feelings whenever they want to. If they are curious about aspects of the move, it’s crucial to share with them and allow them to feel seen and heard. It’s important to remember that your child may feel any range of emotions, and these feelings may change even from day to day. Give them space to process through these things, and help them with processing where needed. Although it’s good to stay in communication, it’s also important to allow them space and time to independently process as well.
Depending on your child’s age, they can provide varying levels of help. Regardless, you still want to make sure they feel like an active part of the process leading up to your move. Especially for tweens and teens, having a sense of agency can help them to feel more in control of the situation. Assigning tasks with packing or planning can be a great way to get them involved and occupy them with something more productive. Although it’s important not to avoid emotions, it can be positive to have an outlet to distract from these feelings with some productivity. For children who are too young to handle these sorts of tasks, you can invite them to “help” you with tasks, even if you’re technically the one doing the work. This can empower them, making them feel important and valued during this stressful time.
During this time, your child will likely feel stress. To combat this, it can be extremely helpful to maintain structure by keeping the same daily routines. The prospect of the upcoming move often makes children (and adults too) feel out of control, especially if their routines are suddenly disrupted. This can result in a lot of undue stress. As difficult as it may be, try to keep your routines intact as much as possible leading up to moving day. Although there are bound to be changes of some sort, minimize these as much as possible, and check in with your child when these changes are made. It’s also important to provide your child with attention and allow for quality time in your schedule. Making sure your child still has fun and keeps up with things they enjoy will be a major stress reliever.
Even if your child is handling the news well, there are bound to be negative emotions that crop up at some point. When that happens, supporting your child should be the number one priority. Talk about what they’re feeling, validate their emotions, and provide them with what they need to feel supported and comforted. Do not try to “fix” the situation or make them feel as though their feelings are invalid. Going through these emotions can be difficult, but without processing and allowing your child to experience a type of grieving process, they won’t be able to move forward healthily.
Through all of these changes, there are still plenty of reasons to be excited beneath all the anxiety and fear. It can be very helpful to discover these reasons together with your child to give them something to look forward to in your new home. If possible, visit your new city ahead of time to explore some new spots and familiarize yourself with the area. If you can’t do this, then research what may appeal to your child. For example, if your child plays a sport, find out what options there are in your new town. If your child is into a theater, see if their school has a good program or if there are local theaters, and they can become involved. Even finding parks and playgrounds nearby can be great to give your child a familiar and exciting aspect to get excited about.
With these steps, you are well equipped to make moving easier with kids. No matter the circumstances, the situation can be handled, and before you know it, your family will adjust to your new home and find a sense of normalcy. And if you’re seeking a professional moving company to help with the logistics of your move during this hectic time, consider E.E. Ward Moving & Storage Co., the premier long-distance movers in Raleigh. We’ve been making relocation simpler since 1881. Request a free quote today!