Moving into a new home can be a bit unsettling or even stressful for children, especially if the move is to a new neighborhood away from old friends and familiar surroundings. Their old personal spaces are gone, replaced by new, unfamiliar territory. Including children in some of the tasks and decision-making for decor within the home can help the new space feel more familiar and welcoming in short time.
As the saying goes, attitude is everything. The attitude you and other adults display is highly important during moving time, especially when the move is due to unpleasant circumstances, such as financial problems or a change in job or family situations. Children look to their parents or guardians for emotional cues, so doing your best to make the best of things will help the kids adjust more readily as well. Make the move seem fun, creating games about loading boxes into rooms the fastest, in a certain way or putting the most things away in an hour. Spend time with the children finding "cool" places in the neighborhood, either by going for a walk or looking online for nearby restaurants or stores they may enjoy.
Toddlers and Preschoolers
Young children may have a difficult time understanding a move. Console them as you pack their toys and belongings away, assuring them that they still get to keep everything -- it's just moving to a new location. The same applies to beds. Keeping the existing beds for young children will help make their new bedrooms seem more familiar. Place as many of their current belongings in their new sleeping areas as possible so they get accustomed to the space during the move. If moving over a period of days or weeks, allow them to play in their new bedrooms as you unload furnishings and boxes into the space. Set up their rooms before other areas of the home to allow them time to get used to the space.
Keep children informed all throughout the moving process, answering questions they may have about their new home and what the move means to them. Moving during the school year may seem a bit jarring at first, but will allow them the chance to acclimate to a new school right away, rather than being new students at the beginning of the school year. On the other hand, moving during the summer allows them to wrap up the current school year and participate in year-end festivities or ceremonies at their existing school. Whenever the move takes place, talk it up as being advantageous for them in the long run. Allow them to help make decisions about decor in and around the new home, and particularly their bedrooms. Encouraging the participation of all ages makes the move more of a team project rather than a difficult situation for a child who resists the move.
Teens are generally quite expressive of their feelings, which may also mean verbal negativity pertaining to the move. Encourage them to discuss their concerns with you before the move, asking how you can best alleviate these issues even while in the new home. Offer them a choice of bedrooms once yours is picked out if there are enough rooms to allow a choice. Include them in choosing decor for their new space, or let them decorate it completely themselves if they express desire to do so. Research organizations and businesses related to the teen's interests before the move so they'll have new options right away when in the new home.
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