With summer break right around the corner, many families will be taking advantage of the end of the school year to move the family to a new home. Whether it’s a move across town to a bigger house or another state for a new job, moving can be difficult for children of all ages. They may feel a lack of control and are anxious about their whole lives changing.
“As a parent, it is up to you to help ease your children’s stress and show them that moving can be an adventure,” said Jonathan Cohen, regional vice president of relocation services at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “By setting an enthusiastic tone initially, you can make a huge difference in how your children cope with and approach relocating.”
Here are a few tips to help you reduce your children’s anxiety and make moving a positive experience for the entire family.
Keep your children informed. The best way to prepare children for a move is to tell them as much about it as you can.
Ask for their opinions. Consult your children about choices whenever possible. For example, find out what they like and don’t like about your existing house and use their suggestions when looking for your new home.
Stress the positive. While you should share your concerns about moving, be sure not to dwell on the stress or uncertainty. Instead, highlight the positive aspects of the move. For instance, you will live on a lake and can go swimming, you will be near a major league baseball park, or you will now be able to visit grandparents more often.
Keep them involved in the moving process. This will encourage their interest for their new home and community. One simple way to keep them involved is to give them a job, such as packing up their favorite toys and labeling them with markers and stickers.
Show them their new home. Once you have decided on your new home take your children for a visit and allow them to become familiar with their new surroundings. If they are unable to visit prior to the move show them lots of pictures and videos. Also, give your children a photo of their new home and room to show it off to their friends.
Prepare your teens. Teens are often worried about fitting in. They may be worried about making new friends and what will be different in the new school. They are curious about how the kids in the new city dress, wear their hair, and what kind of cars they drive. If possible, take pictures of all of these things to help reduce your teen’s uncertainty.
Plan to stay connected. Farewell parties give your children an opportunity to say good-bye to their friends and feel cared about. Explain that they can stay in touch with future visits, e-mails, letters and phone calls.
Moving can be an exciting time filled with plans for the future. But, while you’re looking forward to a new opportunity in a new community – your children may not be sharing in your enthusiasm. By involving the entire family in the process, focusing on the positives and keeping your children informed, moving can be a wonderful experience for everyone in your home.
Editor’s note: Jonathan Cohen is the regional vice president of relocation services at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. For information on Coldwell Banker’s unique relocation services call 801.563.7600.