It's one thing to move when you're single or when you're a couple. All decisions are on you. For the most part, you're in control. If you have children, though, things are very different. In most moves, children are just participants and what they see is that they are being yanked away from everything they know. So, how do you prepare your children for your move?
Prepare your children for your move
The good news is that children are very resilient and according to the experts, there are several things you can do to prepare your children for your move. Here is what some of the top child and family mental health experts at the Child Mind Institute have to say about preparing your children for their new home:
1. Involve your children
“One of the things that troubles kids most during the move is that they don’t have any control over their environment,”says Jacey Eckhart, a military sociologist who is the Director of Spouse and Family Programs at Military.com. Eckhart has discovered firsthand the importance of helping children gradually prepare for a move on their own terms. Her husband has been in the Navy for twenty-seven years, and she has had to relocate with her family sixteen times. “When our kids were little, we had movers that would make them boxes to play in while the packing was going on,” she says. “They would also get the idea that we were putting stuff in boxes, so they would put a whole bunch of stuff in their boxes. And we let them pick their own rooms in their new house. A lot of times, letting the kid feel a sense of mastery, that makes the difference in the move.”
Children are not stupid. They probably have a lot of questions, but they see that you're stressed and busy. The experts recommend that you often ask your children, "What can I do to help you?" They also recommend that you learn from the real experts in relocation, military families. There are several online resources to help you and your children through this stressful period.
3. Keep things routine
No one likes to think of their lives as routine, but face it, we all live our routines. It's what helps keep us focused for when something comes up that's completely out of our routine -- like moving. Children, like adults, need routine to help show stability.
While you can't make your new home look exactly like your old, this may not be the time to think about buying new furniture for your children's bedrooms. Being surrounded by familiar possessions helps your children feel as if change isn't quite as drastic.
If you typically eat dinner at 6:00, eat dinner at 6:00, even when you are in the midst of packing and unpacking. If Saturday night is movie night, watch a movie on Saturday night. Children need to feel that not everything is going to change.
4. Help them keep in touch with their old friends and make new friends
1. Stay positive
If you worry and stress about the move, so will your children. If you treat the move as an adventure, children are far more likely to jump on board. That's why you should free some time to have a little fun, even during the move.
Featured image via Pixabay.