For the ultimate test in patience and sanity, try moving with kids. Children are naturally resistant to change, particularly when it involves moving out of a place that has been their home for years. But moving with kids happens a lot more frequently than you might think. According to statistics, one out of every five families moves each year. If you’re planning a big move, the following tips can help you make the process more fun—and a lot less stressful—for your entire family.
Have a Family Board Meeting
If you’re moving, make sure to get the kids involved. Call a formal family meeting. Have the family seated in the living room or the dining table, and take the time to discuss your move. Explain the reason behind your move, and let them know where the family will be moving. If this is your first move with the kids, explain some of what will happen so they know what to expect. Do not spend the whole time talking. Encourage them to talk about their needs, listen, and find out how they’re feeling about the move.
Take Them to See the New Home
If the place you are moving to is within the city or driving distance, take the kids to see their new home. It is a great way of stirring up excitement. It will also give you the opportunity of getting feedback from your kids. Taking the kids along will ease the process of moving into a new home. If you can’t take them, show them pictures of the new home. Ask your kids to write a list of their favorite features of the new home.
Organize a Yard Sale with the Kids
Moving is a great opportunity for trimming out the clutter in your home. So seize the chance. Get your kids involved with the purging process. Visit different rooms with the kids and decide what you can get rid of. Just don’t expect them to agree with all of your suggestions about their stuff. Group the surplus items into things you plan to donate, things you plan to thrash, and things you can sell. If you have enough “sell” items, you could organize a yard sale and get the kids involved. If you still have too many items, consider putting some items in storage.
Encourage Your Kids to Learn More about their New Home
While you count down the days to your new move, ask your kids to research new things about your new neighborhood. For instance, how close is the nearest pizza restaurant to you, and are there any theme parks close to your home? Since your kids will likely be switching schools, you can also ask them to look through the different schooling options to see which are located closest to home, and which they prefer. If your kids feel like they are responsible (at least partly) for the changes that are going to be made, it will make them less resentful.
Allow Them Plan Their Rooms
Give your kids creative control over how they want their rooms to look, especially if they are already in their teenage years. Have them pick their preferred colors, themes, and even the sheets. You can take them with you when you’re visiting the hardware store so they can help pick and match different items. Be respectful and enthusiastic about their choices, but be ready to step in if their ideas start getting too excessive. A good tip is to hand them a budget and ask them to work within its limits. This way, you do not have to worry about your kid suddenly wanting a flat screen TV and Playstation 4 in his bedroom. In addition to the bedrooms, you can also include the kids with plans for other rooms. For instance, they can help you choose the right shade of green for the kitchen or the right furniture for the living room.
Pack in Bits
Kids love their toys. It is best to avoid packing them away all at once. Leave some toys behind for the kids so they have something to play with until the day of the move. Leave your kid’s favorite toys for last. If your kid sees you packing the toys, explain to him that you are not getting rid of them, but keeping them in a safe place. You could try making a fun story to explain the move.
Have a ‘We’re Leaving’ Party
Throwing a party is a good way to let your friends know about your move. You get to share contact information, take photos, and make commitments to remain friends. In addition to your friends and neighbors, ask your kids to invite their friends as well. Just be sure to not call it a ‘goodbye party’. You could call it something fun, like a ‘moving up’ party, or a ‘see you soon’ party.
The Bottom Line
Even with all these fun activities, there may still be periods when your children experience periods of sadness or frustration. In such moments, do not hesitate to give them a hug and tell them how much you love them. Teenagers are the most rebellious during a move. Asking them to leave their friends and the social environment that they are used to will feel like torture to them. Be gentle and supportive.
What other tips do you have for making a move easier for a family? Leave a comment for us below.
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