Over the years, many studies have been conducted to define and rank which typical life experiences cause the greatest amount of stress for the average adult. For anyone who has had to make a move, it probably comes as no surprise that moving ranks within the top 10 of the most stressful events and once you add children†to the equation, the stress level only increases. We have compiled the following tips to help parents prepare their young children for a move and to also help them adjust to their new home and community once the move has taken place.
VISIT NEW HOME Take your children†to visit the new home at least once prior to moving day, and be sure to keep the visit short, and upbeat.
MOVING PARTY Ask your child if he/she would like to have a moving party.
Invite his/her friends over to enjoy a night of pizza and movies. Take pictures of each guest posing with your child using an instant or digital camera. Keep one copy for your child, and give one copy to each guest to take with them.
TIMING Most kids make new friends at school fairly easily, but if your moving date is scheduled after the end of the school year, your child could be facing a long, lonely summer break.
To keep your child from feeling isolated you will have to take steps to help him/her meet some new friends. Soon after moving into your new home, ask your neighbors if there are children†of the same age close by. Ask those neighbors who have young children if they are interested in allowing your children†to play together at the local park during supervised play dates.
EXPLORING DAY Once the move has taken place, organize a "family exploring day".
Let your children help you plan an afternoon walk, or scenic drive through a specific part of your new town. By doing this, you will not only be helping your children to familiarize themselves with their new community, but your family will also be creating fun, new memories associated with your new home.
DECORATING Involve your children†in deciding how to decorate their new bedrooms.
Even the youngest child should have some of their ideas incorporated into the new design. Whether it's a big decision (choosing the wall color), or a small decision (selecting just the right spot for his/her toy box), giving your child a say helps them to embrace their new space.
Above all, keep the communication lines open - before, during, and after the move. Depending on the child, it can take anywhere from a few days to many months to adjust to their new surroundings.