Moving with Kids
It’s been decided. Yours will be among the 1 in 5 American families to move this year.
It’s easy to get caught up in the ton of details. It’s inviting to skip right over whatever feelings of anxiety and loss you may be experiencing. Whether excited or saddened, you might just as soon go into an altered state until the chaos of moving is over.
But if you have children, none of those ways of coping is an option. Children require whatever stability we can give them. Children require play-by-play explanations and day-by-day reassurance. Children, being children, need us to be grownups, especially when a big change is going on.
So how can adults make a move easier on the kids? By being actively involved and by involving them.
Tell children as soon as you know for sure that you are moving. Kids know when there are secrets. Kids worry when they sense that the adults around them are upset or unsettled. When kept in the dark, what they imagine is going on is usually far worse than the reality of a move. Tell them in age-appropriate language that the family is moving. There are many kids’ books available to give you a hand. Having some time to get used to the idea will make the transition easier.
Feelings are complicated. It’s okay to let kids know if you are sad about moving. It lets them be sad too. It’s okay to talk about the people and places you will all miss. That’s only real. But it’s important that you find ways to cope with whatever negative feelings you may have. Your kids’ stability depends on you. If you can be generally calm, they will take your lead. If you find ways to be excited, they will pick up on those feelings too.
Involve the kids as much as you can. Most towns now have a community web page. Invite the kids to take a look with you. House hunting? Share pictures of possible apartment buildings or houses. Talk about what you are looking for. Once you have decided on a new home, take kids for a visit if it is possible. Bring back pictures if it’s not. And don’t forget to bring back pictures of the daycare center or school your child will be attending. Knowing where they will spend their days is as important to children as it is to you.