There doesn’t seem to be a perfect age to move when kids are involved. But, there will be the same issues regardless of the age:
- Making new friends.
- Saying goodbye to old friends.
- Leaving a house they grew to love and find safety in.
how can parents ease the transition of moving with kids?
Involve the Kids
Involve your kids in the move as much as possible. Have them come along to look at different houses, or you can wait until you’ve decided on one. Encourage them to pack some boxes, even if it’s only their stuffed animals.
Let them decide how they want to decorate their room. Consider allowing them to paint the room a new color, with your help, of course.
Allow them to sleep in places other rather than their bedrooms in the beginning if needed. Your child may be scared the first couple of nights in their new house. You can let them sleep with you or make it a campout inside the house to add excitement to the night and remove some fear.
Remember the past
Keep their friendships alive from their last neighborhood or school by making playdates after your move. Having items on the calendar gives your child something to look forward to after the move and ensures some friendships continue.
Drive by the old house and neighborhood as often as your child wants. Or maybe take a walk around your old neighborhood. Eventually, your child will let that home go and begin showing interest in their new home.
Try an Open House
Another way to bridge the gap between old and new neighborhood friends is to have an open house or welcome party. Letting your child show people the new house will help them take ownership of their new home.
Throw a Kids’ Party
Another option is to let your kids have a party with the caveat they must invite kids from their new neighborhood or school. For example, if the move happens around a holiday, have a summer July 4th party with water or a Christmas cookie exchange.
When we moved, we hosted a Halloween party for kids. My kids invited new friends (or hope to be new friends) and some friends from their old neighborhood. The party helped my kids not feel like the “new kid” as much. It allowed the kids to play and talk without the confines of school, and it allowed me to get to know other parents in our new school district.
Talk about the move as soon as you start looking for a new home. Opening up the conversation with your kids allows them time to process the move. Ask your kids what they will miss about their current home and neighborhood and how they feel about it. Ask their opinion of the move throughout the transition period and allow your child to “feel all the feels.” Make room for your child’s feelings about the move regardless of how stressed you may be.
Time the Move
If possible, move during the summer. A summer move accomplishes two things: kids have more time to think about the move and say goodbye to friends and their home when they aren’t in school.
Another benefit of a summer move is that it allows your child to start the new school year with everyone else if they move into a new school district. There’s less chance of your child being the “new kid” because everything is new to kids when they go back to school. They’re meeting a new teacher and reengaging with kids they haven’t seen all summer.
Get to Know the Neighborhood
Create a day with your kids where all you do is explore the new neighborhood. If you’re moving across town, you can do this before the move to increase your child’s excitement. Play at the neighborhood park, walk around the neighborhood, eat at a local diner and find activities near your new house to engage in.
Make sure your child has time to say goodbye to the old home. Whether that means they are there when you’re packing up or you get a last-minute picture of the house with your child.
As excited and ready as you may be for your new home, your child didn’t have any say in the matter. As a result, they may feel as though they’re pulled away from their most important comfort.
Your child may need help processing feelings if they’re pretty young. Reading children’s books about moving may help.