As an adult, a move to a new home is a mundane fact of life. But for kids, it's a big, scary, life-changing event. While you can't eliminate your kids' nerves entirely, there are a few things you can do to help children cope with a move.

Find the Right Neighborhood

The neighborhood you move to has a big impact on your children's lives, from the school they attend to the friends they meet. Research neighborhoods within your price range to find the best neighborhood you can afford. In addition to proximity to good schools, look for neighborhoods with well-maintained sidewalks, low-traffic streets, nearby parks, low crime rates, and a spirit of neighborliness. Avoid neighborhood red flags like vacant homes, poorly maintained lots, declining property values, and unsavory businesses like payday lenders and adult stores.

Talk About What to Expect

Part of the reason moving is so distressing for kids is because it upsets their routine. When children don't know what to expect, they get anxious. Explain your timeline for moving by discussing what's going to happen between now and moving into your new home. Writing tasks out on a family calendar breaks down the process into steps that little kids can digest. It's also helpful to point out the fun things they'll find in a new neighborhood, like parks and families with kids next door. The Art of Happy Moving offers more tips for talking to your kids about moving.

Meet Their Teachers

The first day at a new school is intimidating for kids, but parents can make it less scary by taking kids on a tour of the school before they start attending. By introducing kids to their new teachers and showing them where to find their classrooms, you reduce worry about not knowing what to do on the first day. This is also a great opportunity to learn what their new teachers have been covering in class. While grade-school curricula are mostly consistent across public schools, having this information lets you identify educational gaps your child may have. Need more advice on helping kids adapt to a new school? Read these suggestions from CHILD Magazines.

Maintain a Sense of Normalcy

Moving is hectic, but if you're stressed out, your kids will be stressed too. Give yourself plenty of time to pack and move so you can manage the move with minimal disruption to your family routine. Maintain consistent bedtimes and meal times throughout the moving process, and take time off from packing to enjoy quality time with your kids.

Help Kids Stay in Touch

Your children will be sad about leaving their friends, but moving doesn't have to mark the end of a friendship. Help your kids collect the addresses and phone numbers of their friends, and buy stationery so they can stay in touch with hand-written letters. Even social-media savvy kids appreciate the personal touch of sending and receiving mail the old-fashioned way. Finally, encourage your kids to talk about their feelings surrounding the move and ask any questions they may have. Even if their emotions aren't positive, it's important that children feel heard and validated by their parents. Older kids and teens may find comfort in journaling about their feelings and experiences. Your children may feel angry, sad, or confused about a move. But at the end of the day, kids are incredibly resilient and adaptable. Before long, they'll be running through the neighborhood with new friends and enthusiastically decorating their new bedroom. By making the effort to ease your kids into a move, you can help your kids spend less time worrying and more time enjoying their new home.

Guest Writer:
Alexis Hall -

Image via Unsplash
Published on 09/29/18
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