Of all the people a move affects the most your child may be at the top of the list. After all, they have generally had very little say in the process, but they are still fully feeling the effects of it. When kids are used to a regular routine, a move can seem to throw their whole world into chaos. Fortunately, by taking a few smart steps, you can prepare your child to do much better during the move, setting them up to thrive soon after you arrive in your new destination.
Let Them Help
Though it can seem overwhelming, it’s actually beneficial for the child to be involved in the moving process. It can be traumatic for them to head off to Grandma’s house only to return to find their house empty. Of course, they don’t have to stay around for every last part of the process, but if you’re able to let them participate for a decent chunk of time, it will help them be able to let go a lot more easily.
Read Books or Watch TV Shows
If your child has a favorite book series or TV show, chances are there’s a book or episode about the main characters moving to a new house. These are great tools to explain the process of moving and, more importantly, to help children deal with the emotions that moving can bring. Whether it’s the sadness of leaving a best friend behind or the uncertainty of starting in a new school, you can help your child be better prepared by letting them absorb the lessons from their favorite characters before moving day.
As nice as it would be to pack every last item in your home, special attention must be given to ensure your child has some items left out to provide continuity and comfort. Whether it’s a special blanket, stuffed animal, or another toy, let them have several to take with them during the drive to your new home so that they know that while lots of things are changing, many things are staying the same, as well. It’s important that your child be the one to pick these items, since the items that bring them comfort in this major change may be different than what you would typically expect.
Explain the Process
The most important way to help your child cope with a move is simply to explain the process to them, in detail. Talk about why you’re moving, where you’re moving, and all the steps (within reason) that will be required to move. Talk about how you’ll get up on the day of the move, how a bunch of friends or people with the moving company, like Wheaton World Wide Moving, will come and take all of the stuff out of your house, and how you’ll drive a long way to a new house that everyone will live in together.
Even though they may not fully understand everything you’re telling them, letting them know the details in advance will certainly help them cope as the events are occurring.
As mentioned above, children need continuity during a big move. They need to see those elements that are unchanging when so much is being uprooted. Make sure to love them especially well during a move so they can feel the comfort and reassurance of parents who will never leave their side.