Are you happy and excited about selling your home? Or are you dreading the sorting, packing and other chores?
Your attitude is contagious to little children. If you look at moving as an exciting adventure full of fun, new possibilities, then you’re halfway to getting your children on board for the ride.
Most children don’t like the changes associated with moving, so it’s your job to get them looking forward to it. The younger the child, the less able they are to “see into the future” as you do. They tend to focus on missing friends and family.
You can make childish fears and doubt grow into a sense of wonder and curiosity.
1. Acknowledge and empathize with the loss they feel and show them how to balance their feelings with what they have to gain.1. Communicate with your child patiently and frequently. Let your children know, step by step, what is happening and what is likely to happen next. Tell them what the move means to the family — how important it is that Mommy got a big promotion or that Daddy is opening a new office for his company and putting people to work.
2. List all the advantages there are for the child in the move. For example, will the family be closer to Grandma, or another favorite person? Will they be closer to the ocean, a park or other favorite place? If you promise they’ll be able to see old friends and family frequently, be sure to keep your promise. Children are like elephants – they never forget.
3. Show your kids as many pictures of their new home, neighborhood and city as possible. When you show your child their room, make a game of it. Draw a room plan and let your child draw and cut out images of furniture and toys to move around.
4. Introduce your child to the new community online. Draw a map or print one out and show how close Mommy and Daddy work, where schools are, where Aunt Bea lives, and other points of interest to help them orient themselves in their new surroundings.
5. Be ready for those “What about me?” questions. If your child is in scouts, little league, or other organizations, contact those associations for referrals in your new neighborhood or city. Knowing they won’t have to give up favorite hobbies or sports goes a long way toward helping children adjust.
6. Let your child participate. Make a fun activity out of researching services you’ll need online, like finding a veterinarian for your dog. Older children can find blogs online about their new school.
7. Keep your child occupied by letting them plan what to pack and what to take in the car or plane on the way to their new home. Pack a box or two of their special things and make sure it arrives at your new home before you and the kids arrive so they won’t have to wait for their favorite things until everything’s unpacked.
8. Encourage them to take the time to exchange good-byes with friends and loved ones and get addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers to stay in touch. If they’re old enough to write, let them start making notes about the moving experience so they can put their thoughts into letters later.
9. Try to stick to normal routines as much as possible. Let your children know that, although they will soon live in a new house, the rules of the household will still be the same. Bedtime is still at 9 p.m., and homework must still be completed before TV or video games.
10. Make sure they know that although Mom and Dad are a little busier and distracted with the move, they love their children very much and are giving the entire household a new opportunity to grow. Your preparations will go a long way in reassuring your children that their needs are being considered, even while big changes are happening around them.