Moving could be quite a challenging process; more so, with children. And for most military families, this task is inevitable and constant. Military families move around 10 times more than civilian families, even while their kids are still in school.
While it’s easy for adults to get used to the idea of moving, kids need a little more time to adjust. That’s why it’s important to prepare them for the move months before so that they can have an easier time adapting to the new environment.
Here’s how to help them adjust:
Give them a heads up as soon as possible
While you might be tempted to keep the news about the move to yourself to avoid hurting their feelings, it’s best to let them know right away. This gives them plenty of time to get used to the idea of moving to a completely new area.
Let them help with the move
Getting your kids involved with the moving process keeps them distracted and even gets them excited about moving. Here are some of the fun activities that they can do:
- Deciding what to keep and what to donate/recycle/throw away. Moving houses is a great opportunity for the family to declutter and clean the house. It makes packing and unpacking easier and allows you to see how much stuff you have in your household inventory. Let the kids help you decide in choosing items that should be kept and those that should go elsewhere. This gives them some control during the moving process.
- Packing up and cleaning the house. Another activity where your kids can actively participate is in packing their things and cleaning around the house. Just make sure that the tasks are age-appropriate. Toddlers can lend a hand with sweeping corners, middle-schoolers can wipe down surfaces, and older kids can take on more heavy-duty tasks.
- Decorating the moving boxes. Make moving more fun for kids by letting them decorate the cardboard boxes. Bring out the markers, felt-tip pens, stickers, and colored tape and let them go to town with the decorating.
Plan fun activities to do in your new area
Whether it’s heading to the park or searching for the best pizza place, start searching for activities or places that your kids would be interested in doing or visiting. Letting your kids experience something new gives them something to look forward to. And if it’s possible, take them with you when you visit your new place. They can check out the new house, explore the neighborhood, and see what else they can do there.
Visit their favorite places before moving
A great way to help kids say goodbye to your old home is to celebrate their favorite things. Is there a neighborhood park that your kids often visited? What was their favorite restaurant or recreational area? Enjoying these spots before the move encourages them to find a new favorite spot once they’re in the new neighborhood.
Reach out to the local school liaison
Your local school liaison is a useful resource in helping your kids make their transition to the new school easier. Once they connect you to the school liaison at your next location, you’ll have an easier time figuring out which schools and programs will be a good fit for your kids.
Having a list of online resources may also come in handy once you make your move. Tutor.com, United Through Reading, and the Military Children’s Education Coalition (MCEC) are excellent resources for keeping them on track with their education and connecting with other military families.
Listen and acknowledge their feelings
It’s natural for kids to be angry or upset when you tell them about moving to a different area. After all, they’ll be uprooted anew from familiar places and things like friends, family, and school. Allow them to be upset, let them talk, and answer any questions they have about the move. During this stage, it’s important for them to know that their grievances are heard.
Reassure your kids by telling them that you will be there for them whenever they feel angry or frustrated. Make sure to keep an open dialogue, as well.
Be positive but realistic
Having a positive outlook is key to a successful move. Talk to your kids about the advantages of moving to your new place and all the good things that will come once you’re all settled in. However, be careful about over-promising if only to get them on the same page with the decision to move. You’ll be in for more crying and grievances if said promises don’t get kept in the end.
Enlist the help of a military relocation professional today! Get in touch with me, Loralee Wood, at 702.419.3212 or fill out this form. You may also send me an email at Loralee(dotted)Wood(at)CBVegas(dotted)com.