No matter what real estate trends you’re dealing with in your market, moving is always stressful and difficult, but it’s even more overwhelming when you have to prepare kids for the process. Kids usually don’t want to leave their friends and school behind, and they may anticipate missing family members. But it’s important to frame moving as the start of a new adventure, while giving kids space to grieve for the things they’re leaving behind.
Get your kids ready for a move by starting discussions about it as soon as you can. These moving tips will help you get your kids ready for a big change of lifestyle.
Don’t Put Off Telling Your Kids About the Move
If you have an upcoming move, the best thing you can do is let your kids in on it as soon as possible. Telling your kids about the move early on gives them a chance to process their feelings about it and get used to the idea. This is especially important for older kids and teens, who are the most likely to react poorly to a planned move; they are more strongly tied to their social groups and more likely to be looking forward to events and outings, like prom with their friends, that they might miss because of a move.
Kids will tend to react to news of a move with apprehension, so it’s a good idea to talk to them about it often and give them as much information about it as you can. Answer their questions and address their concerns with reassurance. Kids need to know that moving can be a good thing. If possible, take them to the town or neighborhood so they can get an idea of what to expect. If it’s not possible to take kids to their new home in advance, try to find as much information about the new community as you can. Look for pictures of the new town and school, activities they can get involved in or facilities they might enjoy.
Give Your Kids Some Decisions to Make
Kids will feel more confident about an upcoming move if you involve them in the decision-making process. You could take them house hunting with you, or if that’s not practical, show them the online listings for houses you’re considering and ask for their input. Older kids can even help you look for promising listings.
Once you’ve found a new place, give kids some input on getting the new home ready. Maybe they’d like to choose a paint color for their new bedroom or spend some time planning new bedroom layouts with crayons and paper. Getting new furniture? Let kids choose their own bedroom sets or decorative elements. Take the opportunity to start teaching kids about home maintenance or plan some outdoor DIY projects for them to look forward to.
Ease the Transition
Very young children, under five years old, may not understand what moving means. Use stories or books to explain the concept, and explain what’s happening again when you’re packing up. Ease the transition for very young children by trying to keep the same furniture and layout in their new bedrooms and play areas, if not throughout the house.
Older kids can understand the process and will appreciate being given some role in the move. School-aged children may be sad about leaving friends and relatives, or anxious about a new school. Prepare for the move by gathering as much documentation as you can for the new school, including test scores, medical records and curriculum information. School-age children will want to know everything they can about their new school, new teachers and potential new friends, too.
Teens are most likely to struggle with a move, since they are often so closely connected to friends and social groups and are deeply committed to extracurriculars and hobbies. They may resent uprooting their lives, leaving their friends and missing out on upcoming social events. Give teens the chance to express and come to terms with their feelings, while reassuring them that moving is difficult for everyone and helping them plan to maintain their relationships with those they’re leaving behind. Planning a post-move trip to visit old friends and relatives might help, as well as encouraging teens to maintain connections via social media and correspondence.
If a move happens in the middle of a school year, it might be worth letting teens finish out the school term with a close family friend or trusted relative. If your teen is close to finishing school, it may be easiest for everyone if he or she is allowed to graduate with his or her friends before joining the family in the new home for the summer before college.
While moving is often logistically difficult and stressful for adults, it can be exciting for children. Getting your kids ready for a move can give them the foundation they need to thrive in their new home, and buying a home warranty can give you the budget protection you need to focus on helping your kids adjust, instead of worrying about unexpected repairs. American Home Shield® today to find out more about protecting your new home.