Children are often easy-going, but when it comes to moving to a new home you might be surprised at how anxious, worried, and upset they can become. The younger they are, the more difficult things can be emotionally, as they’re confused about change to their routines. Older children are more attached to friends and other people. So what can you do to prepare them for the home sale process?
Timing is Everything
Do you really need to move right now? Are you moving far enough away that your child will have to change schools? If so, can you wait until the school year is over so that your children have time to adjust over the summer? Have you recently had a major emotional event (death, divorce, etc) that your children are dealing with? If so, you may want to postpone a move that isn’t absolutely necessary for a little while as you deal with other emotional issues. Sometimes a few weeks or months can make a huge difference.
If you can’t wait – because of work or money issues – make sure your talk about the move is always positive. Save your concerns and negativity for private discussions far out of the range of little ears.
Communication and Involvement
Whatever you do, don’t spring a surprise move on your kids. Make them as much a part of the process as everyone else in the house. Mark the move date on the calendar and start an exciting countdown. Let the kids decorate their moving boxes and help with the packing of their own toys. You might even consider letting them draw floor plans for their new rooms. Do whatever you can to make them feel as though they’re a part of the process – even if that means giving them a little bit of healthy busywork.
Think about the things you can do to help your children make new friends in your new neighborhood. Find out about clubs, sports teams, social groups, or even summer-camp programs your kids can use to not feel isolated if you move between school years. The sooner they start meeting new people, the more comfortable they’ll feel.
Rituals are Important
Don’t let all of your family rituals go by the wayside during the hectic moving process – packing, unpacking, etc. If Friday is always family pizza night, then make sure you have pizza on Friday. If Monday is always family game night, then pull out a quick game. An hour of family down-time won’t hurt anything and will give you all the break (and reassurance about routine) you all need.
Talk to your real estate agent if you have concerns about your children and the moving process. They’ve worked with tons of families and can give you more tips to make the process a little easier!