If you feel stressed about moving, imagine what it’s like for your kids. You have a say in the decisions that dictate the how, when and where of your move. Your kids probably don’t.
Children are creatures of habit. Any disturbance in the routine will prompt a reaction, whether it’s a teenager rebelling or a four-year old pitching a fit. It’s normal for them to feel apprehensive and anxious – make sure they know that.
Talk to children about what to expect, answer questions, share your feelings and encourage them to share theirs. Make sure they know they can come to you at any time. The prospect of being uprooted from school, sports teams, friends and a familiar house can be traumatic, and the longer your children have been building relationships, the more upset they will likely be. Let them know that you can and will help them through the transition. Every child is different, but overall, kids are pretty resilient; they just need time to warm up to new ideas and get adjusted to major changes in their lives. Let them know why the family is moving and put the date of your move on the family calendar for all to see.
All is not lost
Remind them that moving doesn’t mean they’re going to lose touch with their friends. They can still keep in contact via e-mail, text message and social networks. You may also want to arrange a visit where your children’s friends come to the new house after you’ve settled in a bit.
Be a role model
Kids pick up on their parents’ emotion and state of mind. If you’re frantic and nervous about the move, they will be too. If you keep it together and express confidence, your kids will likely follow your lead. Concentrate on all the opportunities and emphasize all new experiences that lie ahead. This is an exciting time.
Let them help
If it’s practical, let the kids participate during the home search. Encourage them to ask questions – sometimes kids ask the most insightful questions. Look at the house through their eyes and try to think of their concerns. Take extra time to show them where their room will be, and ask them to think about where they want their furniture.
Pick it up, pack it in
Packing is never fun, nor is it tremendously exciting. Younger kids in particular may need a little help understanding the concept. Let them know you’re not throwing away toys; you’re just making sure that they’re packed safely away and that they’ll be available when you get to the new place. Let them write their names on the boxes with colorful magic markers or crayons.
One tip that can really help, no matter the age, is to have a box with just their “important” stuff. This box may contain music, pictures, a favorite book, a stuffed animal or any other valued item. If possible, it should stay with the family during the move. If it must go with the movers, unpack it first to create a level of comfort and familiarity on the first night in the new house.
What’s it like?
If you’re moving to a new city or state, show them where you’re going to live on a map. Also, use the Internet to find kid-friendly attractions and other information about your new town. Allow them to get excited, as this may help counteract some of their nerves. It also helps to get your family back into a comfortable routine as quickly as possible.
We can do it
Moving can be a stressful experience for kids, but as a parent, you can alleviate some of the anxiety by being honest, answering questions and involving them in the process.
Ask your Texas Realtor® for advice or resources that can help ease the transition to your new community. As an expert in the real estate industry, your Realtor® likely helped another family through a similar situation.
For more information about moving or to find a Texas Realtor®, visit TexasRealEstate.com.