There are very few things in this world that can hold a candle to the menacing, hurricane-force blow that is telling your kids you’re moving.
Navigating the realm of having to adjust to a new street, a new room, new school and new friends can increase the stress of your child – not just for them, but for you, too. Who wants to uproot their family structure and start afresh somewhere new, especially when your kids tell you there’s no way on earth they’re on board with the idea.
But that’s only one side of the coin. Some kids won’t mind the idea at all, provided you give them ample time to adjust to the idea, and help them appreciate the perks of the new town or city you’re moving to. In this situation, maybe moving will be more enjoyable for them, but more hectic for you to manage.
We’ve compiled some helpful tips on how to break the news to your kids in good time, that will hopefully give them – and you – the tools to help the move an enjoyable and positive experience. Happy moving!
Don’t Not Tell Them You’re Moving
Have a heart. Provided your children aren’t infants or very young toddlers, make it a priority to talk with your kids about moving to an exciting new neighbourhood or city. Make it a fun discussion by showing them a few pictures of notable sites, cool parks and attractions, beaches, etc., but do not, under any circumstance, neglect to tell them all together.
The misconception is that you’ll avoid the resistance and sadness of moving altogether if you don’t tell them up front. You may think have their best interests at heart if you don’t tell them and draw-out the prolonged experience of having to say goodbye to their friends and schoolmates. But no.
Your kids need to be given the opportunity to grieve and rationalize a big move in their own way, and it’s best if you’re there to help them. Answer their questions, like how far away you’re moving, what they can bring (everything is a good answer) if they’ll have opportunities to see their friends again. Ease their worries and provide comfort.
Don’t Wait until the Last Minute
Coupled to our first suggestion is the connotation that you’ll neglect to tell them in good time, potentially sending your entire world into a frenzy of intense sadness, anger and pseudo parent-resentment. Don’t do this to yourself, or your kids. Further to our suggestion of telling them up front, this gives them ample time to deal with their emotions so they have all of the mental tools readily available and feel that they can come to you with questions, concerns, and feelings before, on, or after moving day.
Again, it’s all about giving them the tools to embrace the change in good time. Taking that away from them makes for a truly unenjoyable moving experience, and a difficult transition to a new community and a new lifestyle – plus, it makes you the bad guy.
Don’t Try to Be a Hero
There’s absolutely no need to take this on all by yourself. Don’t try to be a hero and juggle directing your movers, ordering lunch for your friends and family helping you move, and consoling your upset/excited children when you’re trying to pack up a house full of possessions and memories. It’s already a stressful time, so take advantage of grandparents or a close family friend to watch over the little ones for a few hours while you handle the bulk of the moving details.
Leave the heavy lifting and maneuvering of awkward objects down stairs to your professional moving team, and divert the coffee run to a friend.
Asking for help is often associated with weakness, so it’s stigmatized as something you shouldn’t need – but that couldn’t be less true when moving. When you’ve got 1000 things to do, help is your friend, so just ask for it.
Don’t Let Them Help with Everything
Even if you’ve made every effort to childproof your move, your little ones will likely want to help pack their stuff, and maybe even some of your stuff. They’ve got the best of intentions, and it’s pretty common for kids to want to feel included in the big picture, but chances are you’ve got a swath of inherently sharp, heavy, and eye-pokingly good things that need attended to. Don’t let them help with everything.
This may be a good time for the ol’ “Grandpa needs your help in the yard” bit, or the “I think mom is ordering a pizza, why don’t you help her which toppings to pick,” while you arrange wrestle that chest of drawers down a steep staircase.
Don’t Exclude Them
Counter to advice point #4 – it’s a good idea to not shut down your kid’s offers to help out, either. There’s a good chance you’ll hurt their feelings, or make them feel useless while the adults get to “have all the fun.”
A better idea would be to have them pack up their own overnight bag, so they’ve got their go-to best stuffed animal friend or doll, or book with them in the car for the journey and the first couple of days when you’re still unpacking. This will give them a sense of duty, allow them to help out in a great way that keeps them – and more importantly, you – organized and prepared for the first few days of living in your new abode.
When all is said and done, don’t lock yourself in your new house unpacking for days, either. You’ve got kids who have had enough of moving, don’t draw it out for longer than it needs to. Take some time to do something fun together, unpacking can wait. This a great chance to help acclimatize your kids to a new area by including them in a discussion about where to go, and what to experience first. Let them pick a new park, attraction, or restaurant to go to for your first family outing.