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Tips For Moving With Kids

Moving to a new home is a time for mixed emotions.  Each person in your family will handle it in a different way.  Some will find it to be an exciting adventure and others will be angry and sad about leaving friends behind.  It is a stressful time for everyone involved and it is important to make the transition as easy as possible.


Prior to the Move...



You should be honest with your children and try to involve them in the process as much as possible.   This will give them a sense of control over the situation. 

House Hunting:  Older children can give their opinion on the selection of the home.  Have them keep a description of the house and a list of pros and cons to evaluate at a later date. Younger children can help to decide on bedroom assignments.

Packing:  Older kids can pack their own belongings and younger kids can decorate the boxes containing their treasures.  All prized positions, stuffed animals, books, etc…, should be kept separate so that they will have them immediately when entering the new home. Try to pack children's things last and do not assume that your preschool child understands the moving process.  Let them know that everything will come with you and that you are not leaving treasures, furniture or animals behind.

Explore the Neighborhood:  It is important that you explore the neighborhood to find new places in advance for the things they like to do.   For example – soccer or football fields, parks, library, ice cream store, schools, movie theatre and video rental store.  Take pictures so that the kids can take it home with them to show family and friends.  Have them make up a before and after scrap book with their new pictures and mementos from the old house and friends. The more time that you give them to think about the move the more time they will have to adjust to the idea.

Field Trip to School:  Set up an appointment with your children’s new schools and visit prior to the move. Be sure to point out to them familiar places like the office, library, gym, art room, music room and bathrooms.   This can help alleviate many worries children have about their new school and being able to find their way around. 

Activities:  If you child is involved with an activity prior to the move be sure to have them enrolled in the new location.  You do not want them to miss a season because of moving.  You may also want to enroll them in some additional after school activities as well.  This is a great way for them to meet new friends.

Keep the Routine:  Make sure you try to keep your schedule the same as much as possible.  Make sure they keep their nap and bed routines, serve dinner at the usual time and keep their after school activity appointments.  Keeping your house neat for when realtors are bringing potential buyers in can be a challenge with children.  Establish boundaries and rules for the kids so that everyone will know what is expected of them.  This will make clean up easy on short notice and will help to keep the stress level down.

Saying Goodbye: This is very difficult for school age children since relationships are so important to them.  A farewell party may be a good idea. It will give them the opportunity to say goodbye and show that the move is definite and it will help them to accept reality.


After the Move...



Make Moving Day Special: Plan dinner at a favorite restaurant and go for ice cream afterwards for dessert.  Plan a indoor camping night -- pull out the sleeping bags and sleep on the floor.  You probably won't have the beds ready anyway and the kids will love it!

Maintain Daily Routines: While children are adjusting to new homes, neighborhoods, and schools, comfort at home can be provided by keeping things that they are use to the same. For instance, nap and bedtime routines, dinner hour, special TV programs, story time etc…

Meet the Neighbors:  Introduce yourselves to your new neighbors.  Take walks in the neighborhood, spend time at the park and always be on the look out for kids to meet.

Get Involved Yourself:  Volunteer at school, join church groups, create or join a neighborhood playgroup, volunteer for kids sports events.  This is a great way for you to get to know people

Don’t Spend All of Your Time Unpacking:  The boxes can wait, empty the necessities and then spend some time with your kids getting to know your new surroundings.

Be Patient:  Remember it will take some time for your house to feel like home.  Everyone needs to adjust in their own way.  If you find that after about 4-5 months your child is having trouble making friends, seems irritable, can't sleep, isn't eating properly, or seems depressed  then it is time for you to take action.  You need to contact your doctor or the school guidance counselor for help.

Keep An Open Line of Communication:  Make sure you are there for your children and that you really listen to what they are saying.  Spend some quality time with them to make sure everything is OK.


Moving With Your Teenager


You should be prepared for them to rebel.  Remember that at this age they are more involved with social/love relationships and feel that all of that will be interrupted with a move.  You need to have a lot of patience with them and let them know right away about the move.  Try hard not to lecture them or to loose your temper.  Remember they have a right to express their opinion and it is definitely going to be the opposite of yours. They need the time to come to terms with the idea and to say goodbye at their own pace.

It is important that you visit their school and check out activities that are available for them.  If they work then help them to find a new job.  The quicker they get involved when you move the quicker they will make new friends.

It is also very important for them to fit in with the rest of the kids at school.  Since fashion is so important at this age try and do some research to make sure what they are wearing is cool! 


Books on Moving...


Dear Phoebe by S. Alexander

We Are Best Friends by Aliki

The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst

It's Your Move: Picking up, packing up and settling in by  L. Bourke

I Don't Live Here by P. Conrad

I'm Moving by  M. W. Hickman

My Friend William Moved Away by M. W. Hickman

Moving Molly by S. Hughes

I'm Not Moving! By  P. Jones

Maggie and the Goodbye Gift by S. Milord & J. Milord

A New Boy in Kindergarten by J.B. Moncure

Moving Day by  T. Tobias