FEATURED_How-to-Prepare-Your-Children-for-the-Move

One of the hardest things your kids will ever have to do is move from their childhood home to somewhere new. Children, way more than adults, crave routine and stability.

Even though you may miss your current digs, it’s mostly the big hassle of moving that gives you grief. But for your kids, it’s the other way around. They’re going to miss the home, the neighborhood, the friends they’ve made, the memories they’ve created, the secret hiding spots, and the general routine of the life you’ve created together.

The good news is that you’ve made a house a home once for your kids, and you can do it again. And even better news, I’m going to help you.

Below, I’m sharing my top tips for preparing your children for a move to a new place.

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“We’re in this together.”

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Shortly after you decide that you want to make a move and before you start house hunting in earnest, discuss it with your kids. Although you’re not getting their permission, the point of your “family meeting” is to prepare them ahead of time for the move and, more importantly, to get them importantly.

The purpose of your family meeting isn’t to get their permission but rather to prepare them ahead of the move. It’s also a good idea to get your kids involved early on. This will increase their level of ownership in the idea of moving.

Think about it: you’re much more likely to feel excited about anything when you’re playing an active role.

The same principle applies to kids.

Get Them Involved in the House Hunting

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Your kids will be living in the new home too, so their opinions matter.

Allow them to participate in the search for your new home. Starting online, you can all gather around the computer and decide which elements you prefer most in your home.

They can chime in with the things that are important to them. Kids have a voice, as I’m sure you know, and they also have definite opinions. Of course, if you have younger kids, you’ll have to filter through the fluff, but overall you may be pleasantly surprised by their no holds barred insight.

When it’s time to actually visit the home, why not bring along your kids?

Not only will it likely be fun for them to tour new homes with you, your kids may also see things that you’ve overlooked.

While you may not want your kids to accompany you to every home you see, do make it a plan for them to visit at least one or two, especially the homes you’re most serious about.

Make “Family Time” a Priority

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It’s easy for kids to get lost in the shuffle. You’ve got a lot going on. You’ve got closing paperwork to tackle, you’ve got bank accounts to drain, you’ve got movers to schedule, and approximately 15,000 other things to do. As long as the kids are fed, clothed, and get to bed on time, it’s hard to fit family time into your already busting-at-the-seams schedule.

That’s understandable.

But, it’s also important that you do.

Just like this is a whirlwind for you, it’s a whirlwind for your kids, too. However, your kids don’t have the ability to control the whirlwind like you do—they’re more likely to be victims of it.

During the home buying process, be sure to steal some time to spend with your kids. That’s one of the reasons I recommend house hunting together—that’s definitely family time, too. Anytime that your kids can feel included in your day will be “family time”. This could be an hour trip to the ice cream shop, or a family movie at the end of a long day. Sure, you may fall asleep on the couch, but at least you’re together when you do.

This family time will reinforce to your kids that you’re still a family through this, even if you’ve got to make a huge life change by moving from your home to a new one.

The smallest sentiments often make the biggest impact.

Discuss Their Emotions

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While it’s often best to ask them directly, not all kids are going to open up and tell you how they’re feeling about the move—it can be hard to put into words. But, it’s pretty much guaranteed that no kid really wants to move from the environment that they know into the great unknown.

In an effort to get them to open up, sometimes it’s a good idea for you to open up yourself. Share how you feel about the move—but not just the happy part, the sad part, too. What will you miss about the home, the neighborhood, the town?

Sharing your sadness can help your kid open up about how he or she feels, too. It can also be a powerful way to bond with your kids.

But it’s important to frame the move in optimism also. Although you’re sad to leave the place, explain that you’re happy to see what the future holds. Give them something to hope for in the new place: new friends, more family time, and new places to explore.

Establish New Routines

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Once you’ve settled into the new place, it’s time to establish new routines for your kids. While you’ll probably want to keep the same general schedule for bed and bath, you may have to switch up your morning routine.

Perhaps the school is further away, and now you have to get the kids up earlier to make the commute. Or maybe you’re closer to school now that you’ve moved, and you can allow them to sleep in just a little longer.

You’ll need to tweak your travel times to your favorite spots, too. If you’re living in the same community, it may only be a matter of minutes. But if you’re moving to a completely new town, you’ll have to chart new territory to the doctor’s office, dance class, soccer field, mall, and more.

As soon as possible after moving into your new home, be sure to unpack your children’s rooms. They’ll feel a lot more at home when surrounded by their own “stuff”.

Create New Traditions at the New Place

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Along with establishing new routines, you should also create new traditions to honor this next chapter in your life. The sooner you start these traditions, the more you and your children will grow attached to your new location.

Traditions don’t have to be serious and substantial.

Your tradition can be as simple as pizza on Wednesdays from your new favorite local pizzeria. During the holidays, introduce new practices that you didn’t do in the old home. For example, bake cookies together every Christmas Eve or host an annual barbecue to commemorate Father’s Day.

New traditions make lasting feel good memories that your kids will now associate with the new home.

Final Thoughts

While no one likes change, especially kids, they can and will embrace your new home as long as you honor their feelings and include them in the process. Kids are surprisingly adaptable and they will learn to love this new home if you give them enough time. Good luck on the move!

[content_upgrade cu_id=”4334″]Be sure to grab my free roundup of tips for helping your kids cope with a move![content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]