What happens when moving with kids? The answers are as different as kids themselves. Some may be ready to wave goodbye to the old place with both hands. Others may be on a hair trigger for mutiny at the very mention of moving.
Keep in mind that kids are people, too. Respect their feelings, but be sincere. With that in mind, here are a few ideas that may help you get the right psychology going for your brood.
Younger kids are generally easier to enthuse about moving, especially if they are not yet acculturated to the world outside the home. Something as simple as a coloring book about moving day can help them look forward to the adventure. You might even draw a picture and talk about how strong men with a big moving truck are going to take your furniture to your new home. Little ones tend to take emotional cues from mom and dad. If you’re genuinely excited, chances are they will be, too.
Older kids, those in middle school or high school, can be a tougher sell. Some may even feel a little resentful, especially if they will have to leave a boyfriend or girlfriend behind. Or if they are looking forward to a special event, such as a school bash.
Total agreement may be elusive, but seek it anyway. Try to loop your kids into the decision-making where you can. Maybe they can be part of the house-hunting process. If not, a family visit to the new home can quell worries. Many properties nowadays can be viewed online, some even have video tours. Focus on the good and look for the positives. (Your new room is pretty cool. We have a lot less grass to cut now. The people next door have a daughter your age.)
Online tools like Google Earth can be a great way to create some excitement about the new neighborhood. Sit down together at the computer. Trace the route to your new home. Zoom in. What’s the neighborhood look like? Any swimming pools? Potential places for skateboarding? Parks or playgrounds? Trace the route to school. Where are the ball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts?
Explain to the kids that now is a good time to go through their things and weed out the old, outgrown, or broken stuff. Maybe they’d like to donate things to their school or a local charity. Or they could sell them and generate a little extra cash. Get the whole family involved in a moving sale with proceeds going into the kitty for next year’s vacation.
Saying goodbye to friends can be the hardest part about moving. Maybe you could throw a little get-together for everyone. A going away party, maybe, with good friends as guests of honor. Give them maps with your contact information. Or maybe a special “let’s-stay-in-touch” memento. Talk about the good times you’ve all had and remind everyone the best is yet to come. When you’re moving forward, life is always an adventure. No amount of distance or time can ever take away true friendships.