How Do You Prepare Your Family for a Big Move? 8 Steps to Follow
Moving is one of the most stressful life events that a person can go through. Moving when you have kids adds exponentially more stress to the process.
While moving is tough on adults, it’s extra tough on kids. Their sense of security is tied up in the places that are familiar to them. So, when their life is uprooted and moved to a different place, it brings up a lot of fear and sadness.
How do you prepare your family, especially your kids, for a move? Here are some tips that will help make the process a little easier for everyone.
1. Talk with Them About the Move in Advance
Of course, it’s nerve-wracking to talk to your kids about moving. You know their reaction isn’t likely to be positive and it’s overwhelming to deal with all the feelings that are bound to come up. But putting off the conversation is worse than getting it over with.
The sooner you have the conversation with them about moving, the more time they’ll have to process this major change before it actually happens.
Create a happy environment for the conversation. Make them their favorite dinner or maybe have the discussion over treats. Choose a time of day when they’re less likely to be cranky and when they’ll have plenty of time to talk with you.
Start by telling them why the move is happening. Even if they’re young and they won’t really understand, giving them a concrete reason helps them feel more secure about the decision. Then tell them a little bit about the new place that you’re going to.
Then turn the conversation to them. Let them ask as many questions as they want and answer as honestly as possible. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and validate their feelings by saying that you feel the same way.
Leave the opening to continue the conversation whenever they like. Let them know that it’s always safe for them to talk to you about the move when difficult feelings come up.
2. Create a Countdown to the Move
As soon as they know about the move, find a way to make a fun, visual countdown to the moving date. This could be crossing off the days on a calendar. Or if you have a whiteboard where you keep track of the household and family, you can write down the number of days and change it each day.
The important thing is to create a fun ritual around the countdown. This helps the kids get excited about the move day. It also helps them get adjusted as the day gets closer.
3. Ask Their Opinion on Decisions About the New House
It’s important for your kids to feel like they have a voice in the moving process. It’s also important for them to get excited about their new home. So, involve them by asking their opinions about your new home.
This is extra fun if you already bought a house and can look at pictures. But this activity can be done even if you haven’t settled on a place yet.
Ask the kids what color they want to paint their room. Let them tell you how they want their new room to look. Talk about what colors the common rooms like the living room and kitchen should be. Let them help you pick out the furniture and curtains for the new place.
Asking them to help you with this crucial planning process makes them feel important and lets them know their opinions are valued. It also helps them visualize where they’ll be living, which helps them feel more comfortable when they get there.
4. Take a Vacation to Your New Home
Chances are you’ll need to visit your new hometown before the move to sign the paperwork for your new home. You can take that visit as an opportunity to take a family vacation there!
Your kids will be excited to go because it’s a family vacation. Once you’re there, make a point to talk about how the places you’re seeing will fit into their new life. Show them their new school.
Take them grocery shopping at the local grocery store. See a movie in the local theater. Make sure to take them to a fun kid’s place near your new home so they know there are fun things to do in the area.
Introducing your kids to the places that will be part of their new life in their new town, before the move, gives them a chance to get familiar with their new life before it happens. That way they won’t feel completely overwhelmed in a strange place when you first move.
Once you get home from your vacation, take every opportunity to talk about the places you saw while you were there. Remind your kids how much fun they had while they were down there and remind them that they’ll be able to have more fun in that town once you move.
5. Read Books About Moving
Children’s books are an excellent way to help your kids process concepts that are tricky for them to understand. It also helps them understand that other kids have gone through what they’re going through.
Get a few children’s books about moving from your local library. Incorporate them into your daily reading and bedtime storytime.
Make sure that you leave enough time to talk to them about what they read. Focus on how the characters in the book had lots of difficult feelings about their move but that everything turned out okay in the end. Be ready to answer any questions and talk about the feelings that come up for them.
Read a variety of books so your kids can process the information through different stories.
6. Let Them Decide How to Pack Their Stuff
One of the most difficult things for kids to deal with when it comes to moving is packing up their things.
If your child is still a toddler, they’re still struggling with object permanence. They may be scared that they’ll never see their things again.
Before you pack up their stuff, have them help you pack yours and talk about how you’ll see these things again after the move. It may also be helpful to come up with a song that helps them say goodbye to things when they’re packing them up.
If your child is older, they’ll understand that their stuff is just in a box, but they may have a harder time leaving their things in the boxes until the move.
Let your kid help you come up with a gameplan about how they want to pack their things. Talk to them about what can get packed early, and what gets packed the day before the move. Kids love to be helpful, so ask them to help you pack the boxes with their things.
When the inevitable tantrum happens because they want something they’ve already packed, remind them of the plan they helped you create. Then remind them of the things that aren’t packed and find a favorite object that makes them feel secure.
7. Hire a Moving Company
The last thing your family needs to deal with during a big move is loading and driving the moving trucks. Yes, you can save some money by renting a truck and DIY’ing it, but it definitely won’t save your sanity. During a big move, your sanity is often much more important than your wallet. So, spring for a moving company.
A moving company in Melbourne will get all your boxes and furniture onto the truck. This eliminates the chance that anyone in your family will get hurt during the move. It also eliminates the need for you to bribe your friends and family to come over to help with the move.
The moving company will then drive all your stuff to your new home, and unload it all off the truck when it gets there. They’ll even get all the boxes into the right rooms, so all you have to do is unpack in each room.
Hiring a moving company relieves as much stress as possible from a stressful life event. So, you and your kids will be able to focus on taking care of each other instead of your stuff.
8. Have a Going Away Party
Saying goodbye is an essential part of the moving process, especially for your kids. They’re not just leaving the place where they’ve grown up, they’re leaving the people they’ve come to love as well. So, make a big deal about saying goodbye to everyone by having an epic going away party.
If you’re not too packed up and you’re comfortable, have everyone over to your old house one last time. This starts the process of your kids saying goodbye to the house as well as to people.
Make sure that the party is a fun, lighthearted event. But also leave space for the sadness that will come up.
How Do You Prepare for the Big Move?
These steps will help your family get ready for the big move. They’ll help your kids process a big life change and help them feel safe and secure during the process.
How do you prepare yourself for the big move? Check out our Home/DIY section for some tips about setting up your new dream home.