When Mommy and Daddy Decide to Move
No one ever said moving is easy. Preparing your home to sell, the cleaning, staging, showing, and packing is really disrupting to everyday life. Often times, you’ll be faced with the chore of simultaneously searching for your new home as well. Sometimes, you’re moving out of state and adding a job search to the mix. However, as hard as it may be on you the parents, imagine what it’s like for children. (The furry kind too.)
From their perspective, it must be very strange. Suddenly there’s a parade of people moving about the house, mom and dad are taking their whole tiny world and packing it away in boxes, “Wait, I wanted to play with that,” and “Don’t get rid of that!” and aside from disrupting the routine that our children are used to, moving might also mean leaving some special people behind; a sitter, friends, grandparents and so on.
Here are seven tips you can use to make preparing for, moving and getting settled in a new home, easier on your family.
Prepare. If you have children talk to them about a month ahead of time. Explain to them what is going to be different but don’t forget to also explain to them that the important things are going to stay the same. This includes physical objects in the child’s room and throughout the house that will be coming with you.
Create. Give your child a camera/phone and allow them to take pictures of whatever they want, their toys, yard, friends, a nearby park. Put the pictures in a photo album and on the last page include a picture of your new home.
Explore. If you can, take your child on a tour of your new home and surrounding areas. This will help encourage curiosity and eliminate some of the mystery and worry. Explore ice cream shops, playgrounds, libraries and any other children friendly places near your new home. For pets, let them sniff around their new digs, walk around the neighborhood and/or explore their new pet park.
Be the example. Children (and pets too) look to us for cues. They pick up on emotions like stress and excitement. As tempting as it may be to talk negatively about the new or old home, try and remain positive and encouraging throughout.
Stick to a routine. When you get to your new home try to fall back into your routine as quickly as possible. This includes meal, nap, play and bedtimes. Same goes for your pets, walks and feedings should remain consistent. Even use the same bed and bedding in the new space to help create familiarity during the night, a time that’s often already associated with uncertainty.
Include them. Allow your child to have some say. Obviously, the big decisions have to be left to the adults and people who can talk. However, letting your child pick out a new lamp for their room can make them feel like they had some input.
Teach them. Social skills are an important part of adjusting. Have your child practice making new friends. Teach them conversation starters like, “Hi my name is Melanie, I just moved here from Minnesota because my daddy got a new job.” Boost their confidence and tell your child you know they’ll make new friends because he/she is such a “nice girl/boy.”
Remember tears, tantrums and “accidents” are perfectly normal. Experts say it can take up to six months for children to fully adjust. Pets can often adjust within just a few weeks but it’s important they stick to their routine, make new friends and feel loved, not neglected, as well. In particularly tough cases, don’t be afraid to seek professional help for anyone in your family who struggles to adjust. As always, having a realtor who is experienced in helping families with buying, selling, and who is actively involved in your new community, can make a world of difference.