Whether you move to a new neighborhood, a new town or a new state - moving can be hectic, especially with small kids. It is important to explain to the kids what to expect and listen to their concerns and fears. To keep the stress levels of the kids (and ultimately of the family) down, here is a few tips for making a family friendly move.
1. Talk to your kid(s) about the move
Even if your kid is just a toddler, they will sense and understand changes in family circumstances more than parents might realize. It is important to involve them in any conversation about the move and address any fear that a move will inevitably trigger in a child.
2. Make it an adventure
Involving the kids early on does not stop with just talking about the move. Show them pictures of their new home or take them there in advance, if possible. Show them how their new room could be like, how much fun they will have in the backyard and other activities are available in the neighborhood. Turn the new place from an unfamiliar environment that they might fear into something that they look forward to.
3. Give the kid their own boxes and label them
While it might be more convenient to put some of the kid's toys into a box with other items to maximize space, it is important to give the kids the confidence that "their stuff" is moved with the same attention as everything else in the house. Having them help pack (where reasonable) and label the boxes makes them part of the team. Make sure you have a few toys set aside that they can immediately play with once you reach your new home. You don't want your kid yelling and crying for the toys in the way back of the truck until the movers have reached them.
Most importantly, call in help if you have to. If friends or family are willing to help, they can not only be a valuable resource with packing or unpacking but with the kids as well. It will help establish a friendly environment at the new house as well as additional entertainment and distraction.