How To Prepare Your Children for a Move

These days, moving from one home to another is more normal than staying in one place. In fact, an average American moves almost 12 times within their lifetime. One of the many issues of moving is that it can be really difficult for children to handle, as the children do not feel like they are in control of the situation (which, in truth, they aren’t). To prepare your children for a move, you will need to make sure that you stay positive throughout the process, discuss the move with them, allow them some choices, etc. Even if you are hiring one of the best moving companies to help you relocate, moving with children is always a difficult process. But if you prepare your kids well, it gets a lot easier. And you will be able to do so after you finish reading this article!

How to prepare your children for a move

Every child is unique and may require a specific approach. It is always best to think carefully about your own children, their needs, emotions, and dispositions. That being said, there are some things that are universal, and that can help you prepare your children for a move much easier. Here’s what you may want to do:

  • Be positive about the move
  • Discuss the move early on
  • Make constant reminders about the move
  • Allow your children to be upset
  • Let your children have as many choices as possible
  • Throw a goodbye party
  • Help your kids stay in touch with their friends
  • Find fun activities in your new area
motivational positivity message
The most important thing when you prepare your children for a move is to stay positive.

It is also not a bad idea to get informed on moving specifics. You may want to read a guide to cross-country moving with the family, for example, or you may want to learn about various moving hacks. The less effort you are able to put into the moving necessities, the easier it will be to focus on what really matters – your children.

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Positivity matters

You want to adopt and maintain a positive attitude when moving with children. This is because children, particularly young children, take emotional cues from their parents. If you are showing that you are upset about the move, don’t be surprised when your kids start being upset about it as well. Being and staying positive is not always easy and is one of the many mental challenges of moving, true, but it is in your best interest to try and put on a “brave face” throughout the moving process. Your children will inevitably pick up on your positivity, and everything is going to be much easier.

With that in mind, feeling a bit sad about leaving your old home is quite alright. You and your children may have some fond memories of the place, and it is alright to reminisce about them. But don’t let that take the “front seat”, either. Keep your focus on the upcoming relocation and all the reasons why it is in your best interest to do so. You can always find something positive about the move, even if it is avoiding negative things that might happen if you don’t move. There’s always a silver lining, after all.

Try to discuss your move with your children as early as you can

a person holding a small top secret case
Moving plans should not be kept secret from your children.

As soon as you make the final decision to move house, you will want to let your children know. By letting them know straight away, you will avoid awkward questions such as how long you have known about the move. The basic idea is to not have your children feel like you are having secrets from them, as that might change their entire disposition about the move.

Furthermore, by letting your kids know about the move ahead of time, you will have more opportunities to properly prepare your children for a move. You can also involve your children in the moving process, if possible. For example, you may have them research temporary storage options for moving, have them contact moving companies, research the new neighborhood, etc. This will give the kids a sense of direction and might make the idea of relocation much easier to grasp.

Provide your kids with constant reminders about the move

Speaking of which, your kids may need constant reminders about the move. This is especially true with younger children, as they might forget about moving plans entirely. The best thing you can do is to “casually” remind them about the move at least once a day. Turning back to positivity, try to present the move in a fun and exciting manner when you give these reminders. You will want to try and explain to your children that you are improving your quality of life by moving.  For example, you may want to point out the candies in a store, saying, “There’s a store in our new neighborhood that has even more varieties.”. That way, you are providing a reminder in a positive light.

Depending on your kids’ age, you may also need to remind them that everything will stay the same. All the toys will still be there; the pets will be coming with you, etc. And your kids will be able to partake in all their favorite activities, as well.

Allow your children to be upset about the move

a child having a tantrum, showing how not to prepare your children for a move
Tantrums are to be expected.

The fact of the matter is that no matter what you do, there’s a chance that your children will be upset about the move. And that is perfectly fine; they are entitled to being upset. You are uprooting them from a familiar place and taking them somewhere new. The important thing to understand is that your kids can’t be upset forever. At one point, they will start coming around.

When that happens, don’t be surprised when they take an interest and start finding moving hacks that can make your relocation easier. The time it takes to transition from upset to helpful varies from child to child, so don’t worry if it is taking a while. According to some experts, children’s full transition to a new lifestyle takes as much as six months. Be patient, prepare your children for a move accordingly, and they will definitely come around.

Let your kids have plenty of choices

If there is something that every single kid likes, it is to be in charge. Now, this is not to say that you want to make them in charge of your relocation effort, but you will want to make their choices matter whenever you can afford it. For example, you may put your kids in charge of planning their new room. Allow them to select the furnishings, paint color, and other decorations for their room. By providing your kids with meaningful choices, you are making them more excited about the entire relocation.

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Throw a farewell party

a goodbye party as one of the ways to prepare your children for a move
A goodbye party is always a good idea.

Properly saying goodbye is essential for everyone, perhaps even more so for children. That is why you might want to consider throwing a farewell party to ensure that your kids do not miss out on saying goodbye to anyone. The best time to throw the party is at least a few weeks before the move, definitely before you start packing your home for relocation. Under no circumstances should you plan a party a day or two before the move, as the whole thing may turn into a sad spectacle.

Help your children stay in touch with their friends

With the advent of technology and social media, it is now easier than ever to keep in touch. If your kids are particularly worried about not being able to talk to their friends anymore, let your children know that distance is not a barrier. Set up a social media account for them, teach them how to use video calls, and help them practice before the move. You can also make some plans to visit your old home from time to time and share these with your children. If you put a “return to the old home” event on your calendar, your kids may start counting down the days.

Find fun and exciting activities in your new area

Sometimes, all that is needed to prepare your children for a move is to point out all the new and fun activities they will be able to enjoy after the relocation. To do so, you may need to not only research and compare moving companies but research fun, family-friendly activities as well. If you can manage to get your kid into a fun activity “straight off the bat”, they will adapt to their new surrounding much faster. Social activities such as team sports will help your kid make new friends faster and start feeling less homesick.

Aside from these general tips, you may also want to adapt your approach to the age of your child. There is a world of difference between moving with toddlers and moving with teenagers, after all.

How to prepare babies and toddlers for a move

a person holding a baby hand
Toddlers need your attention more than anything else.

When it comes to babies and toddlers, there is only one thing that matters: Your attention. They do not care about packing, moving, or anything of the sort. All they care about is that you pay attention to them. Needless to say, this can be very hard at times. When it comes to preparing babies and toddlers for a move, it is more about preparing yourself to deal with the situation. They will not need much preparation.

A few things to consider are to try and keep to crucial routines, keep any explanations simple (possibly through a favorite toy), and pack their bedroom last and unpack it first.

How to prepare preschoolers for a move

Moving with a preschool-age child can be quite an extraordinary experience. On the one hand, you can expect there to be about a million questions in the vein of “Why don’t we love our old home anymore” or “Are we taking the bathtub with us?”. Kids this young fully understand that something important is happening, but they may not have any concepts of practicality. That is why you need to talk to them about what’s happening, utilizing as many visual stimuli as possible.

Preparing a preschooler for a move is also a lot easier if you let them “help”. They need to feel like they are contributing, and it is your job to allow them to feel that way. You can do so by letting them pack some of their belongings or choose which items to take to the new home. Or anything that might have them believe that they are genuinely contributing to the move.

Lastly, most preschool kids have a healthy obsession with cardboard boxes. By providing them with numerous boxes to play with, they may forget about the difficulties of the move and start having fun instead!

How to prepare teenagers for a move

a teenager plugging their ears with his fingers and rolling his eyes
It can be hard to “get to” a teenager.

Oh boy, here we go. The absolute “worst” age for a kid to be moving is when they are in their teenage years. The reason for that is that they have the “most to lose”. Teenagers may already have very meaningful relationships, relationships that can be extremely difficult to let go of. These relationships can be with a favorite place, a favorite teacher, a team, a friend, and so on. No matter what you do, preparing a teenager for a move is never easy. But it is not impossible, either.

What you need to do is not let anything they say get to you on a personal level. You may hear shouts of “I hate you” and “I am NOT moving, no matter what.” It is rather easy to lose your temper in situations like that and provide ultimatums to your kids. But what you should do, instead, is try and empathize with your children. Try to understand what they are going through and the reason behind their words. Then, in a calm manner, let them know that move has to happen and that you all need to deal with it. Sometimes, sharing your ambivalence can help as well. You can say that you are excited about the new opportunities that the move offers but that you are sad to be leaving your friends behind. After all, your kids are not the only ones that are leaving something behind.

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It’s all about the kids

The best way to prepare your children for a move, aside from following these tips, is to customize your approach to the unique qualities of your child. In other words, what you want to do is combine the tips and particular dispositions of your children. For example, if your kids love music, let them choose a song for each moving task. Moving with children is all about them and their unique qualities. Learn to work with them (or around them), and you will have no issues.

And if you are looking for more information on moving with a family, the Consumer Opinion Guide is there to help! We can provide you with information about all the top moving companies in your area, moving tips&tricks, and much, much more.


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