Article written by Alexis Hall
Children are notorious for fighting change. And moving to a new home is perhaps the biggest change of all. Keep reading for helpful hints on ways to ease the pain of the process.
Do your research
The most important thing you can do as a parent is research potential new neighborhoods well in advance. While price is of course a consideration, local amenities such as a good school zone and access to public parks, are also a priority. In Raleigh, North Carolina, the market remains competitive with the average sale price hovering around $272,000 within the last month. Despite dwindling inventory and fast-moving homes, avoid the temptation to rush into a decision.
According to Realtor.com, there are certain things you can compromise on, such as purchasing a smaller house in order to get other features you want. Talk to your lender about the affordability of going $10,000-$15,000 over your price range if you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for. Make sure to involve the kids in your home search – when they have a say, they may be more agreeable when it’s time to start packing.
Prepare them ahead of time
Let’s be clear: There is nothing that can fully prepare your child for a complete upheaval of their life. You may only be moving down the road from an apartment to a home, but your child will view it as a major disruption. Parents magazine suggests keeping an open conversation about what’s going to happen. Younger children should be told at least a month in advance – long enough that they should be able to accept the upcoming change.
Another simple exercise in preparation is to let your child make a few changes of their choice. For example, if you typically pick out your child’s clothing for school, let them take the reins. This will instill in them that sometimes new choices can lead to positive outcomes. If possible, contact your child’s new school’s parents/teacher association and try to establish relationships with other parents ahead of time. MoveHub explains this may help them ease into a new school by having at least a few new friends upon arrival.
Tackle practical matters together
In addition to the emotional turmoil that goes along with the move, there will be lots of changes happening around your children. This may include home renovations, home staging or making repairs in anticipation of putting your home on the market. Let your child walk with you through the home and have them point out things they think should be fixed for its new owners.
When it’s time to pack, give your children specific jobs. If they are very young, you might put them in charge of boxing stuffed animals, socks, or other soft items they can handle on their own. Older kids may be given the title “move manager” and provided with a clipboard, stickers, and sharpie to label boxes.
Saying goodbye to people, places and life stages is a part of the growing up process. Unfortunately, it’s one that children often struggle to navigate. Allow your children opportunity to express their emotions and to bid their farewells to their childhood home. Time magazine goes into great detail on how to help your kids to say goodbye – the advice in the article is meaningful for both saying goodbye to the people in their lives and to the physical structure they’ve learn to associate with safety and security.
Moving is emotional for kids. There is no stopping that. But you can quell some of the negative feelings by including your children in the process. From talking about their feelings to bestowing new responsibilities, giving your kids a voice is the best way to get through your family move with everyone’s mental health in tact.