Moving with children is a lot of work for parents, but can be even tougher on kids. Fear of the unknown can bring up a lot of anxiety – and questions.
According to Parenthood.com, children focus on the big picture when it comes to moving. They need answers to their questions in order to feel more confident about moving to a new place.
Here are some common questions and, hopefully, wise ways to answer them to help you hold an open dialogue with your children about an upcoming move.
Why are we moving?
The best answer to this question is an honest one. Try to keep your answer simple and straightforward, like “your mother got a new job” or “we want to live closer to your grandparents.” Be sure to highlight positive aspects of the move, such as exploring a new neighborhood or being able to visit grandparents for sleepovers.
If your child shares negative feelings, remain firm in your decision while asking what other questions he or she might have about the move. Discussing the situation thoroughly will help kids become more comfortable with the moving plan.
Where are we moving? When?
Moving with kids needs to be an exact science – as close as you can make it. When your children ask about logistics, share as much information as you can. Time can be a difficult concept for younger children, so mark your moving date on a calendar and check off the days until moving day.
Having a stable home is important to kids, and moving can feel mysterious and disruptive. Ease anxiety by showing them where their new home is on a map. Show them photos of their new home and neighborhood. If you’re moving within the same city, take them to see where they’ll be living and going to school.
What will my new room be like? Will I have my own room?
This question is a great opportunity to get your children excited about the move. Draw or describe the layout of their new room and ask them to help you arrange their furniture or redecorate. Older kids might enjoy using a site like Pinterest to make a virtual bulletin board of ideas for their room. Encourage little ones to use their imagination and draw pictures of their dream room.
What about my friends?
The intensity of this question will likely depend on the ages of your children and the distance of the move. Even if they are moving miles away, kids can keep in touch via phone or online chatting. For an across-town move, reassure children that they can visit with their friends again soon (if this is true!)
Teenagers who find themselves changing schools may have a harder time adjusting to the idea of leaving friends behind and making new ones. The teenage years are a challenging time when big changes like a move can temporarily feel like the end of the world. Share sensitive encouragement with kids who seem thrown or depressed by the idea of moving.
What will my new school be like?
One of the scariest things for children moving to a new neighborhood or city is what their school environment will be like. The thought of making new friends, meeting new teachers and learning their way around the building can be overwhelming. Be honest about the things that will be the same about the new school – lunch break, recess, lockers – and the differences – new classmates, teachers and classrooms. If possible, take them to tour the school before they actually start class. The more they can prepare, the less stressful their first day will be.
Your kids may have many more questions than these, so be prepared to answer them all thoughtfully and with a positive attitude. It might be helpful to plan a weekly family meeting where they can discuss any worries or new questions they have as they come up. The effort you make before the move will make moving day easier for your children and more fun for your whole family!
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Andresr