Relocation can add a lot of stress and uncertainty to your family’s life. Children are especially susceptible to this stress, as they most likely haven’t had to deal with such a big life change before. While adults can focus on the positives of a new place, children oftentimes aren’t able to separate their feelings and see the bright side of the move. In order to make sure that your move is as stress-free as possible for you and your clan, here are a few tips for relocating with a family.
1. Plan Ahead
Any big life change takes a bit of time to get used to, and the more time you give your family to warm up to the idea of relocation, the better. Experts suggest that you break the news to your children at least a month in advance to give them time to adjust to the idea moving. Make sure you’re approaching this change as a new adventure and as an opportunity to make new friends and have new, exciting experiences.
2. Visit Beforehand
It can be quite difficult for children to envision their new home and neighborhood when they haven’t actually visited before. While they can guess what their new town is going to look like, it’s always better to experience it firsthand. If possible, it’s a great idea to plan a visit to your new neighborhood and show your family around your new town. Be sure to make stops at their new school and find any interesting attractions in the area that they might enjoy. Whether it’s an expansive park right around the corner or a local ice cream shop that you know your children will love, the more you can show them, the easier their transition will be. If your move isn’t down the street and requires a bit more than a short car ride, you can always spend time with your children on Google Street View exploring the area virtually. If they’re old enough, you can even have them do some research on their own and have them make a list of all the places they’ll want to visit in their new town.
3. Make Home Buying a Family Activity
While your instinct might be to keep your children out of the moving process, experts actually suggest the opposite. Instead of keeping them in the dark about the home buying process, make it a family activity. Explore the area together, whether online or in-person, and have your children accompany you on housing tours. Getting them involved can give them control over the situation and help ease their anxiety.
4. Plan Your Moving Time Carefully
If possible, plan your move in the summer when school isn’t in session. Summer is the easiest time to move because it gives your children a chance to start the school year with everyone else and allows them to have a fresh start along with the other students.
5. Prepare For Their Emotions
Even if your children are excited about the prospective move, don’t underestimate how hard this can be for them. Experts suggest that it takes at least six months for kids to fully acclimate to their new life. Giving your children time to process their new life is important, but you also want to make sure you’re supporting them by keeping an upbeat attitude and focusing on the positives. For younger children, you can give them a camera or Smartphone and have them take photos of their old home, friends, school and neighborhood and put them into a book that they can bring with them to the new house. You can even leave the last few pages blank to give them the opportunity to fill it with new photos from their new life.
6. Let Your Children Decorate Their New Room
Get your children excited about their new home by letting them decorate their new rooms. Let them pick out a few new toys or decorative pieces to help make them feel at home and give them something to focus on.
7. Keep Busy and Socialize As Soon As Possible
Keeping your children busy is key to helping the relocation process go smoothly. Before your move, research local recreation leagues or clubs in the area that you can sign your kids up for. You’ll also want to introduce yourself and your children to your new neighbors to help make acquaintances and socialize right off the bat. Once your children are able to make new friends and have new experiences, they’ll soon embrace their new life.