Moving isn't easy, but it can be especially difficult for children. Multiple studies have shown that moving can have a detrimental impact on their mental well-being. While you can't eliminate all of the stressors involved with transitioning to a new home, here are a couple things you can do to make the move a little easier for yourself and your family:
When it comes to moving, timing is important. At times moving may be related to a loss of a job or some other unforeseen change, but when possible, consider what other changes may be going on your child's life before making the decision to move. If your family is dealing with a significant change such as a divorce, or death - consider postponing the move for a less stressful time. Additionally, if you have school-aged children, you may consider waiting until summer to reduce time away from the classroom and having to integrate into a new school in the middle of the year.
Perfect timing isn't always an option, and when it's not an option - preparation will make your life easier. A couple of things to remember to do for your:
Rituals and consistency help us feel comfortable and secure. Drastic change can make it feel as though we have no control over your environment, and this feeling out of control can result in anxiety and depression. Allowing your children to be involved in the process can help reduce the feeling of loss of control. It's important to give them as much information and answer their questions about the move, as soon as possible. Consider creating a printed timeline (create a timeline here) ) of when the current house will be for sale, to deciding on a new home, packing, when they will move and start their new school. As the move date approaches, create an advent calendar or countdown, and give a treat with new information about the move, house or neighborhood. This will give them the play-by-play of what's to come, help them anticipate and get excited about these changes. Additionally, it can be hard to say goodbye to the only home they may have known, as it carries many memories. Help them keep these memories by working with them to create a scrapbook of your home and their favorite places in the neighborhood.
Beyond keeping them informed, it's important to involve your children throughout the process. This can help children feel like they have greater control over the changes happening to them. Many parents have difficulty deciding when's the best time to involve children, as they want to involve them but not overwhelm them. As Realtor, Laurie Westheimer points out "Don’t bring kids along to view homes in the early stages of house hunting, if possible. They often grow impatient and weary of the process." Particularly because of the constraints involved in the process of buying a home (e.g. budget, home availability). This doesn't mean that they can't be involved in the selection of your next home, “First determine a budget, your absolute needs and create a short-list of homes that fit your requirements – and once you have developed a short list of homes that meet all of your criteria, then allow the kids to have input on your short list," recommends Realtor, Vince Reidy.
In addition to having input in the selection of the home, there are many other ways that you can get your child engaged throughout the process: