Moving is seldom easy. Moving with children can be especially challenging—both on you and on the kids. But don't let the stress of relocation dissuade you from making a move or cloud the excitement of buying a new home. New Albany is a fantastic place to live, and we'd love to make it easier for both you and the kids to get excited about the experience. Here are some of our best tips for moving with kids in tow.
Why Is Moving Stressful for Kids?
Nowadays, most people only live in a home for about four years before moving on. Those few years are only a small percentage of the lifetime of a 30- or 40-year-old, but those same four years are half the lifetime of an eight-year-old, and even more for younger children. It might represent all the time they can remember. To your kids, this house might be the only home they’ve ever known. This is their house, the place where they feel safe and comfortable.
A move threatens to take all that security away. Everything that is familiar—friends, shops and stores, schools, theaters, streets, parks—will no longer exist for them. Everything will be different, like they are living in someone else’s world. Understandably, moving can be very stressful or upsetting to children.
Tips for Easing the Process of Relocating with Children
Explain why you're moving
It’s important to communicate openly and honestly with your children throughout the moving process. Children may become confused or upset if they don't understand why the move is happening. Take time to sit down with them and explain that you’ll be leaving your old home behind—but it’s going to give them the chance to experience new things and meet new people.
Be positive and highlight the good things
No matter your situation, try to find a way to put a positive spin on the move. Are you purchasing a larger home? A home in a nicer neighborhood? Maybe you’ll be closer to a fun feature, like a park or movie theater, or maybe the backyard will be bigger. If you’re relocating for work, explain how excited you are about your new job.
Ask your children what their favorite things are now, and try to recreate them in the new place. If possible, bring the kids to visit the new home or drive through the neighborhood. If you live outside of town, show the kids pictures and let them pick their rooms and start planning where they will put things.
Be a good listener
Since children can quickly see the negative sides of most situations, be prepared to address your children's worries and fears. Remember, your kids will leave friends they may have known all their lives. They will leave behind their sports teams, their clubs, and their schools. They will have to start over in a new place: making friends, getting accepted, and fitting into different groups.
Younger children need protection from fear of the unknown. Listen carefully to their concerns and respond quickly to allay their apprehensions. Find those anxieties and address them. Ultimately, kids are fairly resilient, especially if parents respond with infinite patience and understanding.
Involve them in the process
The best tactic to ease the stress of moving is to involve the kids in the process as much as possible. Let them help you shop for homes online. If possible, take them driving through potential new neighborhoods. Let them organize and pack their own rooms, and make a plan for decorating their new spaces.
Celebrate the old and the new
If your kids will be leaving behind good friends, find ways to make parting easier. Plan a going away party, and let them make the guest list. Older kids might have fun taking pictures of all the people and places they want to remember.
Remember, though, some relationships will be extremely difficult to break, and these will demand careful, thoughtful consideration. How, for instance, do you move a 16-year-old 1,000 miles away from his or her lifelong friends or expect them to start over at a new high school?
Expect a transition period
Accept that there is most likely going to be a difficult transition period. Children may be more distressed after the move than they were before it. The new house will not be beautiful the night after you move in. The furniture may not fit right. The curtains won’t be up, and everything will be full of boxes. Schools will be full of new faces, and summer moves might make it hard for children to socialize.
Your kids will need your help to adjust to their new environment while staying in touch with old friends.
Help your kids make new friends, especially if you move during the summer when school is out. Don’t let them sit in front of the TV; get them outside, and encourage them to participate in as many school activities as they can. A neighborhood housewarming party can be a great way to introduce your kids (and yourself!) to other residents of the area.
Don't be afraid to seek help
Should any serious problems arise or your child doesn’t seem to be transitioning after a few months, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to your school’s guidance counselor, or consider professional counseling. If your child is suffering, do everything you can to help them feel normal again.
Remember, Moving Is Exciting!
Moving is stressful… but it’s also very exciting! You’re starting a new chapter of your life in a new home in a wonderful new town. This house might be the homestead your grandkids gather during holidays some day. There will be discomforts during the moving process, but in the long run, everything will be okay. Optimism and a little planning are the keys to a smooth transition from old home to new. Well, those and a great real estate team, of course!
If you’re thinking about making a move to (or from) the New Albany area, we’d love to help. Contact Kate and Tony Thomas today to find out how we can help make your real estate dreams come true.