Help Kids Transition Into a New Home
Moving is stressful and takes a lot out of us as adults. But for kids, their whole world gets turned upside down when moving from one home to another. Not only must they get used to a new home, but also a new neighborhood, new friends, and possibly a new school. If it’s a long distance move, kids can have an harder time adjusting. Preparation and careful planning can help to make the move a positive experience for everyone. Whatever the reason for the move, honesty is essential. Children of all ages are usually capable of dealing with a family move when they know far enough ahead and are given patience, support, and understanding.
Start talking about the move as soon as you know it's happening, show them on a map where you're moving to, and include them home search online. Create an account to save specific properties or a specific search.
When it comes time to pack, load the moving truck, and clean the house before you move, give your kids a task to make them feel equal with you in the move. Once you're on the way, reality sets in and emotions run strong. Upon arrival at the new home, make the experience as comforting as possible.
As soon as you arrive, let them run in and explore their bedrooms. While this is a fun and exciting part for kids, the excitement doesn’t last too long. Here are some tips for making your new home an inviting one for your children:
1. Fill Your Home With Familiar Scents
One of our strongest senses is smell, and new homes can often carry a scent of the people who lived there before you. So light a familiar candle or diffuse essential oils that your children will recognize. Sheets freshly washed at your previous home will help calm their senses and relax that first night in the new home.
2. Welcome Them Home
Prior to the move, create a “welcome home” basket for each of your children and present to them once you've arrived at your new home. This not only helps with those new home jitters but also helps keep them entertained while you unload and unpack. Win-win! Select items personal to each child - favorite snacks, a new book, a nightlight, a cuddle buddy, framed photos - to help them decorate their own room.
3. Set Up Their Rooms First
I know you have a whole house to put together but, especially when moving with young children, focus on their rooms first. Set up their beds, put their clothes away and find a place for their toys. This will help your kids feel comfortable in their own space, and with toys in their places, they can stay entertained while you get to work on the rest of the house.
4. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Once you're ready for a break from all the unpacking, one of the best ways you can help kids explore the new neighborhood and meet new friends is to go on a scavenger hunt!
5. Forts Are Fun!
After all of those boxes are unpacked, let the kids have some fun. Make box forts and create an arsenal of packing paper “bombs” for a good old fashioned paper ball fight.
6. Navigate Feelings
Your feelings, and any anxieties, will be absorbed by your children. Remain optimistic and positive. Making new friends is a critical concern of young people; become actively involved in the process. Once new friends are made, relationships begin to grow. Adjustments are made and life gets back to normal. If your child is still struggles with missing their old home, friends, and neighborhood, here's a suggestion:
Take a large sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. Have your child draw on one side what they left behind, and on the other side, everything they have, want, or wish for their new home. When you start, there will probably be a lot on the “left behind” side, but the more you do this exercise (once a week), the more your child will begin to put on the other side. Allowing your kids to draw out in picture form also helps them to navigate feelings that they may not have the words to tell you.
7. Make Memories
Lastly, to help your children close one chapter and open another, include them in making a memory scrapbook of your old home and friends. Let this be something fun for them. It’s not meant to be perfect. Gather up stickers, colorful paper, pens and printed photographs. Use a 1/2” binder, and 8.5 x 11” sheets of scrapbook paper to decorate. The kids can create each page how they want it to be, slide it into the page protectors, and you have an easy and inexpensive scrapbook with all of their old memories, and it’s a book they created themselves.
Contact me for a copy of Kids On the Move, a booklet to help parents based on interviews of childrend from kindergarten through college who have moved; or Teen Talk, straight talk from one teen to another.
KIMBERLY VAN HAL | Good to Know®
As a residential agent since 1987, Kim has helped home buyers and sellers in the Fargo Moorhead metro area achieve their real estate goals.