Moving is rough. Between all the packing, logistics of finding a new place, and deciding how to move, it is amazing that anyone moves at all. It is hard enough if you are single or married without kids. It is even harder if you have children. While you may worry about the packing and how to pay for the move, they worry about everything else. Their life is about to change and they feel helpless and out of control.
As a parent, it is your job to help them feel like they can get some of that control back. If you can help them alleviate their fears, they will feel better about the move.
One of the easiest things you can do to help them feel empowered is to let them in the process. Tell them why you’re moving as soon as you can. It takes time to process big changes like moving, and you need to give them that time.
After you have given them a little time to process, encourage them to ask questions. Be ready to answer them. They will have lots of questions. Only you will know how to answer the why questions. They will have questions like, “Why are we moving.” Be honest with them. Kids always know when you’re not. Once you have answered the why questions, they will want to know how it all works. How will my stuff get moved? How can I know my precious whatever won’t break? You can answer the how questions pretty easily. Take them to a moving company’s website, like Allied Van Lines, and show it to them. Help them understand how moving works.
Once you have helped them answer their questions about the move itself, you’ll need to help them answer their questions about where they are moving. Again, you need to get them involved in the process. Help them find fun and exciting websites about their new community. Show them pictures and let them know about all the neat things they’ll be able to do once they get there. Make sure you are listening to their concerns about the new location. Make sure you are listening to and finding the things that interest them.
One of their big concerns will be about the things they already enjoy in their current community. Can I still play soccer or do gymnastics? Will my favorite restaurant be there? What will the school be like? Again, the internet is your friend on this one. You know what they like about their current community, so take the time to find the websites that will show your children their favorite places and activities that will be available in the new community.
If you take the time to really listen to and address their concerns, you can make moving an adventure; an adventure they’ll be excited about rather than afraid of. This will not solve all of their concerns, they will still be there, but it will help minimize their impact.
Even though they are excited about the move, their concerns will still be there. You need to keep that in mind. Moving, like life, is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens a little at a time. You will have to take those little steps with your children. You have to take the time to keep them excited about the move. A good way to do this is to celebrate the move and its milestones. Turn the whole experience into a daily celebration.
While you are celebrating the move, make sure you take the time to celebrate your current life and the new one you’ll start once you’re moved. A great way to do this is family meals. Make their favorite comfort foods, like a patty melt. Enjoy the good food and make mealtime a chance to talk about the move.
If you do this, moving can be a great family experience rather than a horrible one. You can get children involved in the move. You can actually make moving a chance to strengthen your family bonds.
If they feel better about the move, they may even help you pack some dreaded boxes, but don’t hold your breath on that one.