Moving may not seem very appealing to your kids. Leaving their friends and school behind can be scary for a child. Especially, when they are relocating to an unfamiliar, new place. To them, it may feel as if they are losing control, which can lead to anxiety.
Be prepared that your kids may act out as a consequence. Here’s what you can do make them feel more comfortable.
Note that these tips will need to be amended accordingly, if moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Sound excited about the move when breaking the news. Based on their interests and hobbies, let them know what fun awaits them at their new destination. Show them which school they’ll be attending and even involve them when searching for your new home. By doing so, they will feel more in control over the situation and have something to look forward to. By preparing them as much as they can, the unknown becomes a little less scary and a little more like an adventure.
• Try to reduce your own stress during the moving process. Kids pick up on your emotions, which can either heighten or neutralize theirs. If you have small kids, see if a friend, babysitter or family member can keep an eye on them, while you pack. This will minimize stress and maximize efficiency.
• Encourage your kids, if old enough, to pack their own stuff. The responsibility will make them feel more in control.
• Create a bucket list of all the things they still want to see or do before they move and complete them together as a family. This way you make their time left there memorable and fun rather than stressful.
• Let them spend quality time with their friends and encourage them to say goodbye properly; for example by hosting a sleepover, camping adventure, or a going-away party.
• Reiterate that in today’s age, staying in touch and visiting each other is easy. It’s not goodbye but simply a see you later.
• If you are planning a yard sale, (consider potential licenses required if in the Netherlands) involve the kids in it and make it a social and fun gathering. Spend the money earned on an activity or purchase that the whole family can enjoy. Don’t force your kids to get rid of stuff they really want to keep, no matter how aged or impractical. Sometimes, they just want to hold on to something familiar.
• When unpacking in your new home; try to decorate and prioritize your kids’ rooms first. The quicker they are settled in, the easier it will be on everyone.