Friday, August 12, 2016

Tips for Moving with Small Children

Today's guest post really hits home since we are looking for a new home currently! Our next-door neighbors just moved a couple of states away with seven very young children and I thought of them as I read this piece.

Tips for Moving with Small Children

Any move, whether cross country or across the street, can be tough for adults but for small children, it’s often daunting. Leaving the home they’ve grown up in, the local park they’ve spent many long summer days playing in, and the neighborhood kids they’ve grown so attached to just might be the first major change in their young lives. As the parent, you can make the transition seamless and exciting for your young ones with just a little extra love and care in this potentially scary and anxious time for a child. Follow these tips to make moving a fun family adventure:

Get the Kids Excited with a Special Family Meeting

Showing your kids your own enthusiasm, even if you’re not excited for a move, can make a big difference in how they respond. Plan a special, fun way to announce your exciting news. Consider having a family meeting over pizza, ice cream, or your children’s favorite treat, to help make the day they find out they’re moving a happy memory. Let them know why you’re moving, whether it’s for a new job, job promotion, or to be closer to family, but be prepared to listen to your children’s concerns and provide them positive reassurance and honest answers.

Research Your New Neighborhood

Get the kids excited about their new home by researching your new neighborhood. Find out where the nearest park is, the local library, and fun places, like ice cream shops. Nowadays with a smartphone, there are tons of free apps that can help you settle into your new neighborhood. The app called KidScore ranks locations on a 0-100 scale, and the ranking is solely based on how kid-friendly the places are. This app ranks restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, dentists and activities and attractions.  Introduce your kids to their new neighborhood by showing them the best parks, their new school, and other fun things to do.

Involve the Kids in Picking Your New Home

If you’re renting, use tools like ForRent to take a virtual tour of potential homes with your children online. Online tools are great for busy parents. After all, you can look for apartments in Houston without leaving your couch in Seattle, or getting your kids dressed. Tour your top choices and let your children share their favorite things about each place, or what they don’t like, to find the perfect place to call home. Giving your children some say in picking the place they’ll call home will help give them a sense of ownership and excitement about the moving process. 

Play Tourist in Your New City

There’s no better way to get to know a new city then by playing tourist and kids will love the feeling of being on vacation in their new hometown. Plan an outing with them around the area. Buy a guidebook or search websites, like Thrillist or Yelp, to look for fun activities, places, and restaurants to take the family.

Organize a Moving Sale

Get kids involved in the moving process by planning a moving sale, whether in your yard or through an online listing site. Let children be involved in what they want to keep, sell, or donate to help them feel some level of control in what can be a chaotic time. It can be hard for children to part with old toys so don’t shy away from a little incentive. Reward children by letting them buy new toys or decorations for their new room with the money they make at the moving sale.

Make Plans for their New Room

Make moving exciting by making plans for your children’s new room together. Let kids figure out where they want to move furniture and display their favorite toys or knick-knacks. If you’re buying them new furniture or bedding, let them help pick out the new items.

Pack a Few Favorite Toys and Activities in a Special Bag

Let your children have a special bag to keep some of their most favorite toys or activities in during the move. Keeping their favorite doll, blanket, truck, or books close and easily accessible will help them feel more secure in this transitory time as well as keep them entertained on moving day. It will also give them something to play with before you’ve unpacked all the big boxes in your new home.

Find Something Familiar

Anyone can get homesick when they make a big move, especially young children. Finding the familiar can help make kids (and adults) feel more at home. Try to recreate some of your children’s favorite activities, like going to the park or library, to help children understand that they can still enjoy the things they loved about their old home in a new place. Making connections with people in your new community can also help children, and adults, feel more comfortable and at ease in their new home. For a start, you can look up your new city’s parks and recreation department online to learn more about community groups, city events, and family programs offered in your new area. 

Say Goodbye to Favorite Places

Leaving the only neighborhood or city a child has lived in can be difficult for all involved. Talk to your children about their favorite places and plan a few days to take them to spend some time with the special places they’ll miss.

Say Goodbye to Your Old Home

Last but not least, say goodbye to your old home with your children. Take time to walk in each room and outside of the house, saying goodbye with your children as you walk along. Make a point to say a special goodbye to your children’s favorite places and things at your old home, like their bedroom, backyard, or a favorite tree. These things have life to a young child and saying goodbye can help them have closure.   

Involving children in the process and making them feel their voice matters can help make a big, sometimes scary, transition into something fun and exciting. With these tips your kids will be feeling at home in your new place in no time!

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