Helping Little Kids Prepare For Big Moves
Moving to a new city, or even to a new house in the same neighborhood, can be challenging for everyone. Children may struggle the most with an upcoming move because it can be difficult for them to understand all the details of the change. If your family is moving, you will need to help kids manage emotions and prepare for the move between packing boxes. So, what can you do to help prepare your little ones for big moves?
Help them get excited about a new house
Most people have a sentimental attachment to their home. For children, they might have enjoyed playing in the backyard or in their playroom. Whatever your child loves about your house, it can be hard to say goodbye. Moving can be easier if children are excited about their new house and feel included in the process of finding a new place to live. During the house shopping process, sit down with your kids and scroll through a site like https://www.calgaryhousefinder.ca/ while pointing out neat features of potential homes. Talk about how good a house would look with Christmas lights or a yard that is big enough for a swing, or a nice driveway for riding a tricycle.
Avoid making other big changes
Children often have trouble dealing with changes, and moving is certain to be a large transition. For adults, a move sometimes seems like a good time to tackle other changes as well. You might be tempted to do things like get rid of unused toys, replace furniture, or transition to big kid bedding. However, children find comfort in routines and in having their usual things near them. It might seem as if your child is ready to transition from a crib to a toddler bed. But, making a big change like that might not be the best idea, since it can force kids further from their comfort zone. During a move, it is usually best to keep other things in your child’s life the same.
Let them make some choices
Though it is a good idea to avoid combining a move with other big changes, there will inevitably be some changes and choices to make. When possible, let children make choices on things that will impact them. To prevent choices from becoming overwhelming, offer just two or three options that you are happy to provide. For example, you could ask:
- Would you like your bedroom to be painted pink or green?
- Would you like to pack your toys or your art supplies first?
- Would you like to store your toy cars in this basket or on this shelf?
- On moving day, do you want to keep your stuffed bear or your toy dog with you?
- On our first night in the new house, would you like to order pizza or hamburgers?
Encourage kids to talk about emotions
For many children, emotions can be overwhelming. During a move, your child could be feeling scared, happy, confused, sad, and excited all at once. While most adults understand how to manage their emotions, many children have not learned those skills yet. During every phase of the move, help your children talk about their feelings. Since children sometimes struggle to name or identify how they are feeling, it can be helpful to make a list of emotions. Then, listen to what they tell you without interrupting. When children do tell you how they are feeling, thank them for sharing and help with brainstorm some actions to take.