You’ve found the perfect home in a great neighborhood and one of the best school districts. You’re ready to give your family their best possible life. You hope everyone shares your excitement. However, you might be hesitating to break the news to your kids. No matter how sure you feel that they’ll love their new home, change is hard. Here’s how to talk to your kids about moving.
A Tough Conversation
There’s a reason why kids fear leaving home. Simply put, it’s home. Even if you’re moving to a place you like better, it’s normal for all of you to feel an attachment to home. According to The Spruce, children regard the home as an abode filled with love and safety. For toddlers especially, home marks the center of the universe. They know little else. So moving often causes stress.
Older children feel attached to their social circle. At school age, children identify with their peers. Apart from friends, children also fear leaving social hubs such as schools, playgrounds, and parks. They associate these familiar places with play time and happy memories. School is also a factor that makes moving difficult for children.
Choose the Right Time
Kids don’t do well with uncertainty, so if possible, finalize plans before you tell them. On the other hand, planning a move often takes months. And kids pick up on things. The Art of Happy Moving says, “If you’ve been talking about the move for a while, chances are that your kids already know something is up.” So if your plans are taking a while, and if kids are school age or older, consider being upfront with them. You might even choose to include them in house-hunting if you feel they are emotionally mature enough for it.
Announcing the Move
Many parents want to finalize moving plans before informing the children. However, doing so makes a child feel helpless. Children, especially older ones, like to feel included. They should have a say on where they will live and got to school. Including them early also helps build excitement.
Round up the family in a private space as soon as you know you want to move. Don’t make an announcement in a public place or around the children’s friends, since you want kids to feel free to react in any way they wish.
Moving is a difficult idea to grasp, especially for toddlers. Let children ask as many as questions as they want. Answer patiently and make it fun. That said, prepare for push-back. Make sure children understand that the decision to move is final. Model a positive outlook about the upcoming changes. Any sign of doubt could cast fear in the child’s mind.
Preparing for the Move
As you pack and plan, continuously reassure your children. Assure them they’ll find great friends. Give them something to look forward to. Focus on what the child gains rather than loses. For example, talk about gaining more friends and more places to explore.
Once you choose a new home, bring the child there. Give them a chance to explore. You might also bring the child to a nearby park or to the new school. He or she may gain new friends right away.
Making the Move
Even when the children look forward to the move, expect difficulties in the first few weeks. Children will need leeway in order to adjust to their new surroundings. It’s best to reassure them every now and then for days, or even weeks after the move.
Attachment to a home can be difficult to overcome. This is especially true for any age. For these instances, it may be wise for parents to stand by their kids and reassure them.