Moving is a big change in anyone's life, but it's particularly challenging for kids. Getting uprooted from a familiar neighborhood, school, and group of friends requires some big adjustments on their part. Sometimes the biggest challenge for them is overcoming the sense of helplessness they may experience; they just feel like they're along for the ride. That is, unless you take steps to involve them in the move. Here are four ways to keep your kids engaged in the moving process.
Let Them Pack Their Own Things
Young kids might not do well boxing up fragile items, but you can definitely allow them to gather stuffed animals, dolls, building toys, and other more durable items. Let them decorate the boxes and then place them in the seat or somewhere with easy access for them. If their toys are buried deep in the moving truck, the kids may worry that they haven't been loaded at all.
Put Them in Charge of Something
Moving involves a lot of work for the whole family, and there's no reason that kids can't take on part of the responsibility. It could be as simple as positioning a kid at the door to direct boxes to the correct room. Older kids might be able to take on planning meals or breaking down the empty boxes. Kids who feel like they have a role in the move will handle the move better.
Create a “Ceremonial” Role
There are a number of firsts and lasts during a move, and those milestones of the event are noticeable to kids. Let one of the kids be the first to unlock the new house on moving day. Depending on their emotions, they could host a final walk-through of the old home with the whole family. If that would be too hard, let them guide a “tour” of the new home for the family and friends who are helping you move.
Make the New Home Theirs Right Away
Remember, it's critical to make sure your kids don't feel like they're just along for the ride. Let them join you as you meet with the real estate agent to view the home and close the deal. Create personal touches immediately by letting them plant a tree in the yard or decorate the mailbox. Until there are features in the home that are unique to your family, the kids may feel like they're just staying in somebody else's house.
Moving can be challenging, but it can also be a very positive experience. Involving your kids from the very beginning will make the transition easy and even fun.