Top Tips for Moving with Children
Moving is one of the most stressful life experiences, especially for a child. Moves can be very scary for children not only changing homes, but schools and friends! Make life easier by getting your child involved. Allow your children to become active participants in the exciting new adventure. Whether you’re taking your children across town or across the country, here are some ways to make the transition a little easier.
Share the News
As soon as you know you are moving, discuss the move with your children and get them involved. Including children in the planning as much as possible makes them feel like participants in the house-hunting process or the search for a new school. Ask their opinions about things, such as what they would like in their new house, neighborhood, and school. If you’re moving nearby, include your children when you go out to view a home. For long distant moves, provide as much information as you can about the new home, city, and state. Learn about the community through the internet.
Remember, young children might not have a good understanding of what “moving” really means. Keep the explanations clear and simple while explaining to them exactly what will happen. You can find a wide variety of age appropriate children’s book about moving. Take the time to read some of these books together.
Choose a New School
With school aged children, the new school or school district should be a priority in choosing a new house. There are a lot of internet sites where you can get information about the ratings and review of schools and school districts in your new hometown. Some of these sites include neighborhoodscout.com; greatschools.org; schooldigger.com; and the National Center for Education Statistics at nces.ed.gov.
Once you find the right school and the right new home, contact the school to find out all the required documents you will need to enroll your child, such as immunization records, transcripts and any proof of address. You may need to make sure the old school and new school are in contact and can transfer the right information.
Pack It All Up
If they’re old enough, let your children help you pack some of their personal belongings. Even a young child can sort their toys and help you wrap objects in tissue paper or bubble wrap. The children’s boxes should be the last loaded on the moving truck so they will be the first to come off and you can set the children’s rooms up right away to add a degree of comfort and consistency right away. This is not a good time to throw away any of your children’s things. They may not have played with a toy in months, but they will probably expect to see it at the new house. With Toddlers and Preschoolers make sure you explain that you are not throwing away their toys when you pack them in boxes.
Have your children pack a special bag of their most prized possessions and comfort items for moving day. The child should carry this bag in the car rather than these things going on the moving truck.
Big brown boxes might be the most popular toy of all time. For the move, make a craft activity out of having your children decorate the boxes their things will be packed in. That way, their stuff will be easy to recognize. Also, once you’ve unpacked at the new home, let them use the unpacked boxes to make their own playhouse, tunnels and forts. This will keep them entertained for hours!
One of the most difficult things about moving for any child is saying goodbye to friends. It’s important for children, from toddlers to teens, to say good-bye. Before the entire house is in boxes take some special pictures and videos of your family in the house. Be sure to include the children’ bedrooms, favorite places in the house and favorite locations around town. Make a memory book.
Collect contacts. Give your children their own address book to collect contact information for their friends. It’s important they know they can stay in touch with people they love. Take photos of your children with their friends. Hopefully, with texting, e-mails and phone calls, your children should be able to maintain old friendships while transitioning to their new home and make new friends.
Say goodbye to your town. Go out to eat at your favorite restaurant one last time and visit that special beach, park or hiking trail. Taking time to do all your favorites one last time creates a sense of closure.
Get to Know Your New Home
To get your children excited about the new house, make room plans. If possible, let your children choose their rooms. Let them choose paint colors and help with the arrangement of the furniture. Try to get your child’s room in order first. If at all possible, arrange furniture in the new bedroom similar to the old bedroom. With young children this is not a good time to change out your child’s old bedroom furniture. Explore your new house with your children. They will be more comfortable if they know the lay of the land, especially the location of all the light switches. Give your children projects to tackle.
Once you’ve settled in, help your children get acquainted with their new neighborhood. Take a walk around the neighborhood together, searching for signs that children live nearby. If you see any children outside with their parents when you’re exploring, stop and introduce your child. Once you’ve met a few neighbors with children, host an event like an ice cream social, a pizza party, or a movie night.
Get to Know Your New City
Try to learn as much as possible about the new neighborhood, community and town. Research or encourage your children to do their own research. They can go online and look up community and school Web sites. Use local magazines or local newspapers to learn about community organizations and groups, school events and sports, and other social and civic activities.
If not too far, walk or drive around the neighborhood and show your child the route to school. If you’re moving a few towns away or to another state, use maps and atlas to plan out the moving route and mark some interesting places to visit and sights to see along the way. This will make the trip go by more quickly, and it will be more engaging for you and the children. Keep the maps handy for when you arrive at your new home. You and the children can use them to plot out routine routes such as from the house to school or from the house to the local park, mall or movie theater.
Once you are in the new house, it’s time to settle in to your new community. Buy a guidebook for your new city and plan some fun outings around the area. Think like a tourist and go see the local sights. If they’ve met some new friends in your neighborhood or at school, encourage each child to bring a friend along on your outings. Get involved. Check out the YMCA, community pool, churches, recreational sports leagues, and your school’s PTA too — all great places to meet families.
Let The Jeff Buffo Team help you and your children with your next move. Whether you are looking to sell your current home, find your dream home or if you need assistance finding a reputable Realtor to help you in another area, we are here to help.