Not everyone in your family may be happy about your pending move. Indeed, there may be dissension in the ranks, starting with your youngest children all the way up to your teenagers. Therapists advise parents to tread with care when helping their children adjust to change. The following are 14 ways to help your children to adjust to a pending move.
1. Make the announcement. As soon as you and your spouse agree on the move, hold a family meeting to break the news to your children. Don’t delay here — they need to know about the move before others are told.
2. Elicit their feedback. Making an announcement is one thing, but allowing your children to speak up is something entirely different. Here, you can encourage them to say what is on their minds. Chances are, they’ll need very little encouragement!
3. Hear them out. Your children will have a lot of questions and may say some things in shock. Allow them to vent without punishment. Lots of feelings will be shared and the reactions can vary from acceptance to stunned disbelief to outbursts of anger.
4. Map out a plan. When things calm down — and they may not for a few days — map out a plan with your family. Explain that the house will be placed on the market, that you’ll all visit the new city to scope out the area, and that you expect their participation as you consider your next home.
5. Start packing early on. Your children can help you pack and that begins by having them go through stuff that they no longer need and can give away or sell before contacting the moving services. Explain that you expect them to participate, but you’ll also reward them for helping out. That reward can come in the form of a moving sale and allowing them to sell what they own and keep the proceeds.
6. Hold a moving sale. Plan a moving sale early on and have the entire family help out. Some children will be good at setting up tables while others may only be able to bring to the sale what they can carry and expect to sell. Make it a family event and a fun one at that.
7. Ask for help. If your teenagers or other children are struggling with the move, seek professional help as soon as possible. Struggling kids will act out, but a professional can help them deal with their feelings and adjust to the change.
8. Consider your pets. What may worry your children the most are your pets, especially if they wonder whether their animals will go with them. Assure them that your animals are part of the family. Have one or more children accompany you to the vet for their final check up before you head out.
9. Work with each other. You are a family and, therefore, should work closely together. This means each sibling should help one another in and through this move. Keep peace in the household by demonstrating peace to your spouse. Without that quietude, your children won’t be at peace either.
10. Make it fun. Change can be alarming, but it doesn’t have to be. Maintain a positive outlook though it all and your feelings will be contagious. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
11. Laugh often, cry as needed. With lots of emotions flowing, you need to allow everyone to vent their feelings. Laugh with those who laugh, cry with those who cry, and allow everyone to just be themselves.
12. Throw a party. Before you say your final good byes, throw an open house and invite everyone you know to stop by. That’ll give your children time to connect with their friends as well as to have some fun. You can also exchange contact information and perhaps make plans with some to see them again in the future.
13. Visit your favorite places. Before you move, visit one, two or three of your favorite hang outs. These are the places where memories have been built — you can solidify these same memories by making your final calls.
14. Say good bye. Children need to say goodbye to their friends, so allow them to spend time with them in the days leading up to the move. A play date or an overnight visit may be entirely suitable.
With your children’s best interests in mind, you can pull off a move successfully and with as little drama as necessary. Even so, you’re not done — an adjustment period at the new place will begin, what can take weeks or months for your youngsters to feel comfortable with.