You won’t find many people who genuinely enjoy moving to an unfamiliar home and neighborhood. While moving can be hard on an adult, it can be especially difficult on a young child who is unable to fully grasp the confusion that can accompany such a big transition. To help make moving easier on you and your kids, we have compiled some quick tips from the best child experts in the field.
Begin by prepping your children for the move. For preschoolers and toddlers most child psychologists recommend that you tell them about the move a month before the actual date. A month will provide them with just enough time to mentally prepare for the big day, but will not cause them to think about the changes to the point that they become upset. It is also very important to remind them that while they will be moving to a new home and a new neighbourhood that everything else will still be the same. For instance, you can tell them in a calm and supportive manner that all of their favourite toys will be making the trip, and that their new bedroom will look very similar to the room that they currently sleep and play in.
You should allow them to grieve as it is hard for them to understand why they have to leave their home. For instance, the move may involve the child having to say goodbye to their friends or a beloved grandmother. The good news is most studies have found that the average child will take only 6 months to fully adapt to their new home. By making new friends and becoming familiar with their new environment children do adjust.
Sticking to the schedule that you’ve helped develop for them is also crucial. If there are certain routines that your child has become accustomed to, such as TGIF nights, or dinner at 6:00 pm with their family, then you should stick to those tried-and-true routines to help them make the transition. Something as simple as a favourite toy, the familiar set up of the bedroom can help them sleep soundly in their new bedroom.
In addition, if you have older children, then providing them with a sense of independence and participating can help make the transition that much easier. That is, allow them to partake in the decision making process of certain things, such as where certain items go, or what type of wallpaper they should have in their new bedroom.
Finally, you should take them around the new neighbourhood to try and meet new friends and to get a feel of their new home. Most experts agree that younger children select their friends based on geographical proximity while older children select their friends based on similar values and interests. Joining a local club or throwing a housewarming party can allow both you and your children to make some new friends.