Moving is consistently rated one of the most stressful life events, and if you have children who are a bit older, it makes it even more so as they experience their own brand of stress from such a big change. They have their friends and activities; they like their school. There is a lot of fear in the unknown.
So, prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead—if you acknowledge the process may be difficult from the outset, it will put you in a better frame of mind to deal with it. Here are just a few tips to get you started:
Once it has been decided for sure a move is happening, it is time to approach the subject in an ‘official’ manner. That is where the good old family meeting comes in. Let the family know you will be moving, and explain why the decision was made, and all the positives associated with it. If you are taking a different job because it pays better, let your kids know you want to do all you can to have a better life. If you are taking a job because it will allow you more time with your family, explain how important that is to you. If you have any experience with moving as a child, share your experience, and let them know things will work out okay. Let them know how important their help will be, and you are depending on them to help you.
Encourage Your Kids to Communicate Their Concerns
Ultimately, you are moving, and you know your child’s concerns are not going to sway you from this decision. But, if you want the process to go more smoothly, encourage your children to express any concerns. Don’t just assume they know they can do this, so no need to spell it out.
And while you always want to try and make them feel better about the situation, make sure you allow them to express what is bothering them, and acknowledge their feelings. Don’t just try and brush it off, and put a positive spin on everything. If they feel like they are being heard, it can open the door for a fruitful discussion.
Getting the Kids Involved
While there are aspects of the move that do not call for whole-family involvement, such as choosing a moving company, there are lots of other aspects that do lend themselves to involvement from the kids. Right now, they probably are feeling a bit powerless—after all, this decision was not made with their input, and it is happening no matter how they feel about it.
Anything you can do to make them feel like a part of the process will only help matters—involve them in as many decisions as possible.
If you have not decided on a house yet, get the family together to make a (reasonable) wish list of what you all want from your new home. While it might not be possible to get this ‘dream home,’ seriously consider their requests and see what is feasible, like the bigger backyard or a basement playroom. If it’s possible, take your children house hunting with you; if your search is primarily limited to the internet, bookmark potential candidates, and show your kids.
If you plan on having a garage sale to get rid of some stuff, get them to help plan and organize it. Let them choose a few select items that they want with them all the way up to, and including, moving day. Let them pack some of their own stuff. Give them free reign over arranging and decorating their rooms.
Once the move has been completed, be sure to check in regularly with how your kids are doing. Actually being in the new location brings a new set of challenges and concerns, so you want to stay on top of that.