Summer is almost here and for families it's the most popular time to move to a new home. In fact, May is National Moving Month. Nearly 40 million of us move in the summer and begin planning our moves in May.
It's no secret, no one likes to move and that includes your kids. Moving is one of the most stressful times in life. It brings a lot of change, to do lists, financial concerns, and for your kids it means making new friends and maybe adjusting to a new school. Way before you break out those card board boxes, use these pointers to help your kids get through the moving process.
Here are four steps to a successful move with kids: timing, transition, getting the kids involved, and an adjustment period.
1. First consider the timing of your move, this is probably the most important element:
• What grades are your children in? If your eldest is about to be a senior in high school, it may be best to let them live with a trusted relative to finish up high school with their friends. If your youngest is about to enter middle school, this is an ideal time to move since they will be entering a new school either way.
• Is school on a break? Much better to time a move with kids when school's out.
2. Second, make the transition into the new home as easy as possible for your kids. Try these tips to make the transition a smooth one:
• Make the new home the kids' own. Allow them to walk through the new house before the move. Let them feel that they are part of the decision. Allow them (as much as possible) to choose their own bedroom, paint colors, and play the imagination game with them: "Let's imagine what this room will be like when it's yours? Where will your stuffed animals go? Where will the bed go?" etc.
• In the old house, talk about how their favorite toys, games, etc. are going to be in the new house too. This is not the time to clean out the closet and discard unwanted clothes and toys. You don't want your kids associating loss with the move. If you need to de-clutter your kids' room, do that way before the subject of the move comes up.
• TALK and LISTEN to your kids. Ask them what they are excited about and what things they are going to miss. Address their concerns; "What are we going to do about that? How about..."
• Before you move out, sit down with your children with a map. Show them where the new house is and have them help you plan the trip and then have them follow the map as you make your way to your new home.
• Stay connected to friends, neighbors and family back home. Arrange webcam time with the children's friends before you move to the new home, it will help make the transition easier when they know they can keep in touch with their old friends. And, set up a play date for the old friends to come over for a sleep over.
3. There is no easier way to keep kids happy than giving them a feeling of control -- get them involved!
• Have them arrange their own room. Draw out a floor plan of the rooms in the new house and let the children make paper doll furniture and arrange what they want in their room.
• Encourage your kids to pack themselves so that they are involved in the moving process. They can have their own boxes and suitcases that they are responsible for. Give them color codes or fun stickers to stick on the boxes that belong in their room. You can oversee this.
• Give each child a backpack to fill with overnight items so that you don't have to dig through boxes. Include their toothbrush, pjs, favorite stuffed animal, favorite bedtime story, remember to put the children's medications in mommy's purse or back pack for safe keeping.
• Give them one box to pack freely with the stuff they want, that will be the first box that they open in their new room
4. Last, is the adjustment to the new home and neighborhood, an extremely important phase of a move as it sets the stage for your new life in your new home. Here are my suggestions to make the adjustment period a great one:
• Host a party in your new neighborhood and invite children of the same age as your own kid(s) over so that they can make friends. It's as easy as a pool party, pizza party, or cookout. Try and host the party the first weeks of being in your new home.
• Take them for a drive by their new school, the local ice cream place, playground, if they have a hobby such as dancing, show them that there is a dance studio here too, so that they see their new neighborhood has all the same things as the old.
• Set up a tour of the new school and to meet their new teacher before school starts.
• If you move in the beginning of the summer, sign the little ones up for camp or other local activities where they can meet the new kids before school starts. It also keeps them out of the house so you can continue the unpacking!
Here are more and tips on how to keep the kids entertained on move day.
Wishing you and your family happiness in your new home!