How to Help Your Kids Cope with Moving

Moving is a challenging time for families, even if you’re moving locally. You have to pack everything up, handle the chaos, and then figure out where everything is. The unpacking is a nightmare on its own. You have to find out new household systems. Figure out where to shop, how to get where you want to go, where the good playgrounds are. How your kids cope with moving is a whole different ordeal. Children will lose friends. Their sleep routines get chaotic on top of everything else. Teenagers can get angry and sad. Little kids get clingy in the confusion and can regress. How can you help your kids adjust to the move?

Announcing a difficult change can help the kids cope with moving

Prepare yourself for a sad and angry reaction. They are acting that way because they are confused, they don’t understand it the way you do. Your child didn’t make this decision, and since they have no control, they can’t imagine what it will mean in the long run.

Mom and a toddler talking over a map
Listen and respect your child’s worries.

Listen, acknowledge, and don’t try to talk your child out of her feelings. Tell them that moving does mean a new school but give them some good news. There’s a great school just a few blocks away, with an amazing playground. Getting the right professional moving assistance in Kihei will leave you more time to talk to your child.

If your kid is too young to understand the concept of a move, try acting it out with stuffed animals. Emphasize that your child and everyone else in the family will be going together. Young children can worry that they’ll be left behind. To really make your move problem free, hire Wailea Movers Hawaii to do the hard work for you. Then you’ll be able to fully devote your time to your family.

Kids cope with moving better if you are relaxed

Stop packing at all hours of day and night and go to bed. Getting enough sleep is the best medicine when dealing with stress. You can’t be patient with your child if you’re exhausted. And you can expect that since moving is very stressful, your child will definitely require more patience from you.

Mom and daughter walking on a beach
Relax and connect over a calming activity.

Help your children understand what is going on

Visit your new place, if you possibly can. Take your kids to the playground and to see their new school, at least from the outside. Stop at the roadside stand to buy fresh fruit. Stop at the local library and get excited about all the fliers on the bulletin board about kids’ classes and activities. Find the best pizza and bakery. Make it an excursion, a fun day when you connect with your kids, and they will cherish that good memory.

Honor grief to help your kids cope with moving in the healthiest way possible

Let them know it is okay for kids to express sadness about saying goodbye to everything they know. This will reduce their stress and make adjustment easier in their new place.

  1. Be sure to visit with their friends to take photos, exchange addresses, and say goodbye.
  2. Go to your favorite spots in your town to say goodbye.
  3. Write goodbye and thank you letters.
  4. Go around the table at dinner and share something you love that you will miss about your current life and something you’re looking forward to about your new life.
  5. Once the house is empty, walk through it together saying goodbye to each room.
A kid looking through a whole in a box
Respect your child’s grief to help them cope.

It is crucial to give your child a feeling of control

  1. Let your child participate in some decisions, like what color to paint their room or where to place the furniture or toys. Give a budget to your teenagers and let them do a little decorating.
  2. Forget forcing your child to give things away. This can create a divide between you since it adds to their sense of loss.
  3. Be sure kids know that the toys you’re putting in that box are going with them to the new place. Let them write their name on the box. Letting kids decorate boxes of their stuff keeps them busy while you’re packing and reassures them that these boxes will be easy to find once you’ve moved.
  4. Give each kid a small box to fill with their most special things, that they can decorate and take in the car with you.
  5. If your children are old enough, let them plot the route with you and be the navigators.

Keep their schedule as normal as possible

The fewer changes, the more quickly your child will adjust. Try not to add any more big changes. This isn’t the time, to transition your baby from the crib to the toddler bed.

Set up their rooms in their new home first

Everything for the kids’ rooms should be marked with fun colors. Their boxes should go into the moving truck last and come off first. On move-in day, give your kids a safe space surrounded by their familiar things. Unpacking them first helps them adjust and feel good about the move. It also gives them a safe place to play while you’re setting up the rest of the house. Renting a suitable storage unit can help if are in need of extra space. We can safely keep all of that extra baby stuff and toy that your kids are not ready to give away.

A kid drawing, only a hand and paper visible.
Help your kids cope with moving by organizing fun activities and keeping their schedule the same.

Plan some fun activities

1. Go to the playground.
2. Find the best pizza.
3. Get your children each their own library cards and a bunch of books.
4. Give your kids the boxes to make a rocket ship, a tunnel or a fort while you’re busy unpacking.
5. Find a group for them to socialize with other children.

Support your child when he/she wants to stay in touch

It’s hard to stay in touch when we move. Kids even can’t really do this for themselves, but it will make their transition easier. Set up skype calls. Let kids play simple online games with each other, like checkers, that can help them engage if they don’t know what to talk about. Send photos and write letters, and keep talking about their friends. Later, when they connect to new people, you’ll see that they don’t focus as much on their old friends.

Moves are overwhelming for everyone in the family. But with time, kids cope with moving, recover and eventually connect with their new community. It takes a year or so before they have moved on. Parents can help them by respecting them and sharing with them our vision of the wonderful life that awaits them.

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