Moving is a huge adjustment that impacts the whole family, including children. Whether you are moving down the street, to a new neighbourhood, or to a new city, province or country altogether, your children will need support during this transition. We are sharing our top 5 tips for making the transition as smooth and positive as possible.
1. Communicate with your children
- Talk to your child about the move in age-appropriate terms as soon as possible.
- Be prepared for and allow all the different feelings they may have.
- Share your feelings in age-appropriate ways to show your child that all feelings are normal and that they are not alone.
- Talk about what will change and what will stay the same.
- Remember, it is totally normal for kids to have concerns. Invite them to share their concerns with you, validate their feelings, and provide answers and comfort where possible.
- Follow up with your children after the move to see how they are adjusting. Share your own struggles and adjustments to show your children they are not alone.
2. Get them involvedThe extent of involvement will vary depending on the scope of the move, the age of the child, or several other factors. Some ways to involve your children are by:
- Including them in the house hunt. Browse potential homes online together, and make wish lists to bring to showings.
- Take them to view homes with you when possible and take videos and photos to show them after the fact when it is not.
- Have them help with packing. If they are too young to help pack, then have them decorate their boxes with markers or stickers.
- Have them choose comfort items to be packed in a backpack or carry on to keep those items accessible.
3. Promote the new home or city
- Share the benefits of the move with your children, whether that’s getting their own room, being able to decorate the new space or having access to a pool or other city attractions.
- Look for activities in the new area that your child is interested in to give them something to look forward to.
- If possible, take your children to visit the new home or neighbourhood and have fun exploring the new area together.
4. Provide opportunities for them to say goodbyeThis will look different depending on the age of the child and the scope of the move. It may mean saying goodbye to the house itself; or to friends or teachers, they won’t be keeping in touch with.
- If you’re moving down the street or to a new neighbourhood within the same city, then chances are your child will be able to maintain contact with their friends and family. You can still allow your child to say goodbye to the home. A fun way to do this is to throw a goodbye pizza party - you’re probably not going to have any food in the house on the last night anyways. You can take turns sharing what you will each miss about the home and your favourite memories. You could also talk about what you are looking forward to with the move. Some children may want to go room by room to say goodbye; do what feels right for your family.
- If you’re moving out of the city, allow your children to choose when and with whom they share the news. Provide suggestions and opportunities for them to say goodbye to those they will be leaving behind and encourage them to exchange contact information to keep in touch with close friends.
5. Take time to explore and enjoy the new home and neighbourhood.
- Introduce yourselves and get to know your neighbours.
- Explore the neighbourhood and visit local parks, restaurants and shops.
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