Moving can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. Even emotionally stable adults may have a tough time moving, so it can be particularly challenging for children to move.
However, it’s worth noting that children can actually benefit from a move because it prepares them to adapt to new situations.
What is the best age to move a child?
Children under five are more malleable and will adjust better than older age groups to a move. You will have to answer what feels like a zillion questions and there may be a few tantrums. Trying to make the move as tangible as possible is recommended.
If you’re moving with elementary aged kids, you can better explain a move to them. Have conversations with them about their feelings so that you can better help them adjust. Find ways for them to keep in contact with their classmates from home, like planning virtual playdates via skype.
Moving with pre-teens and teenagers can be a bit tougher, especially if they haven’t ever moved before. It’s common for this age group to rebel against a move.
For pre-teens and teenagers, feeling like they have no say in the decisions being made can make them feel helpless which can translate to acts of rebellion. Involving them in as many decisions as possible can help to alleviate anxious feelings. Remind them that their BFF is just a text away. If it’s feasible, plan visits back to your old town.
The bottom line, moving with kids can be difficult. The good news? We’ve compiled a list of tips to make moving with kids easier.
Talk to your kids about the move
Prior to your move, talk to your kids about what they can expect and gauge how they feel about it. This way, you can problem-solve beforehand and help them work through their feelings about the move.
If you’re moving someplace close, take your kids to the new digs and explore the neighborhood.
For long distance moves, give them as much information as you can and show them pictures of the house, the neighborhood, the town, etc. Look up things to do in the area and plan a post-move family outing. Help them find reasons to be excited.
Give your kids a say (even if it’s a small one)
Letting your children have input on a few decisions and involving them in the moving process will make them feel like they have more control over their lives. Moving is a big transition for anyone, especially kids, who often have little to no power over the decisions adults in their lives make. Small things like encouraging them to choose a paint color for their new room can help kids to feel a greater sense of control throughout the moving process.
If they’re old enough, take them house hunting with you or allow them to peruse listings online. Let your oldest choose their own bedroom, if applicable.
Begin preparing for your kids for the move ASAP
This is seriously important to mitigate stress for you and your kids during the actual move. Start planning earlier than you think you need to. Pack and prepare your current house for new tenants as early as you can so that you and your family aren’t scrambling to organize while the movers are pulling into your driveway. If you need help packing, we’ve got you covered. Colonial Van Lines offers a range of packing services to fit your needs.
Check out our comprehensive moving checklist that can help you stay organized and plan ahead.
A genius move when moving with kids: To-do lists galore
Give them specific jobs to complete prior to your move. This helps you and them. If you have young children, you can enlist them to perform simple cleaning duties and have them go through their old toys to decide which ones should be donated. Donating is a great way to get rid of unused things, and it’s also an opportunity for you to teach your little ones about charity.
Parents often set the emotional tone for their children. If you’re freaking out, they’re probably going to freak out too. Try to frame the move as an adventure and they’ll be more likely to feel excited about it. If you’re feeling stressed, it’s totally understandable, but try to fake it ‘til you make it in front of your kids.
Find things to love about your new home and area. Great hikes in your new town? An awesome zoo? Explore these cool places and help your kids fall in love with them through your enthusiasm.
Try to maintain a regular schedule before and after moving with kids
Don’t entirely toss aside your family’s routine while preparing for a move. Schedules are important for children of all ages. Change is easier to handle when a sense of familiarity is present for kids and adults alike.
After your move, reestablish stability by resuming your old routines. This may involve Friday night movie nights, or getting them involved in the sports team that they were previously involved in.
Help them make new friends and keep existing friends
One of the most difficult parts of a move for children is feeling like they’re leaving their old friends behind. It’s important for kids to know that they can hold onto close friendships. Thanks to technology, there’s a multitude of ways to keep in touch with old friends. Encourage them to take advantage of this. If they’re old enough, they can use social media to do so.
Signing kids up for extracurricular activities is a great way for them to meet peers with similar interests. If you have neighbors with kids, invite them over once you’ve settled in. You’ll make friends and so will your kids.
Partner with a kid-friendly moving company
Colonial Van Lines is the nation’s number one moving company for a reason. Our goal is to make moving as stress-free as possible for your entire family. Our team can help you throughout the entire moving process. Whether you’re moving long distance, or need help with packing or storage, we’ve got you covered.