Helping Kids Cope with Moving Day

Adults may get caught up in the legal maneuverings surrounding a move, but kids need reassurance the impending change is good!

By FamilyTime


Moving from one house or apartment to another can be scary for kids. Preschoolers and kindergartners are unnerved by such a big change, and older children may be jittery about switching schools and leaving friends behind.

Parents can help the transition in a number of ways.

Talk Openly
Both parents and children should talk about the move. Mom and Dad should explain why they decided to move, with as much detail as is appropriate for the age of the children.

Kids should be encouraged to voice their anger, fear, frustration, and anxiety - as well as their excitement about the family uprooting from one place to another.

Borrow books from the library about moving. Read them several times and encourage brief conversations. Whenever the kids bring up the move, listen to their worries and ideas.

Visit the New Neighborhood
If the new house is only a short drive away, take the kids to see it as often as you can. Walk around the neighborhood, check out the local shops and parks, and try to meet kids who live nearby.

If school is in session, arrange a visit with the principal or a teacher. Ask about teams, clubs, and other interests. Work up realistic enthusiasm for the new school and its possibilities.

Even if school is out, walk around the outside of the building and talk about how it will feel to be part of that community.

If your new home is too far away to visit, take lots of photos and even a video of the new house. Make sure to take pictures of the inside of the house or apartment as well as the exterior.

Say Goodbye
Assure children it's a good idea to say goodbye to friends, teachers, and trusted adults. Buy them a new address book to pass around to gather addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Help your child make a colorful or humorous change-of-address card on the computer or with art supplies.

Participate in Moving Day
Unless your children are very young, let them help on moving day. Babies and toddlers do best with Grandma or a babysitter, but older kids will be reassured by witnessing the transition from one house to another.

Talk about the move in detailed terms. "After we have breakfast, the moving van will come. The moving men will carry all our furniture out to the truck." And so on.

Let the kids decide which favorite toy, book, blanket, or stuffed animal to take with them in the car.

Once you arrive at the new house, set up the children's bedrooms first. Despite the chaos of moving day, a familiar bed, made with familiar linens and pillows will ease the first few nights in the new house. Familiar storybooks and nighttime rituals help a lot, too.

The New House
During the first days and weeks in the new house, consult the kids about paint colors, where to hang pictures, and where to place small items. Let them unpack some boxes or organize drawers.

Take some late day walks around the neighborhood. Introduce yourself to the families you meet. Your kids may not want to make new playmates right away but just knowing names and where other kids live will help your kids feel part of the neighborhood.

And that's the idea. Welcome to the neighborhood!