Moving can be both an exciting and scary endeavour for adults. But imagine how it must feel for a child. It has the potential to be quite terrifying- unless the experience is approached carefully. Below are a few ideas to help make the move less stressful.
Leaving the place they call home is a foreign and unsettling event for a child. Heading to a new house, neighbourhood, city, or even country can be very scary. So from the moment you decide to move your family, include your children in the discussion. Ensure you include happiness and excitement in your conversations. Try and save the more stressful moving topics for private discussion between the adults.
A fun activity to try is to get some graph paper and, if you know the dimensions of your child’s new bedroom, measure it out on graph paper (you can decide the scale- or use 1 graph paper square = 6”). Then measure the dimensions of their bedroom furniture, draw these to scale on a separate piece of graph paper, and cut them out. Write on each what piece of furniture it represents. Put a little tape on the back of each, and try moving them around in your graph paper room. Your child will enjoy planning out where their bedroom furniture is going to go. Remember to include doors, windows and heating vents in your graph paper room!
Another way to get your kids involved in the move and excited about it is to plan how their new bedrooms will be decorated. Take them to your local paint store, and let them choose some paint chips. Many paint stores also have wallpaper, and they may decide they want an accent wall done this way. Some other items to look for include wall decals, table lamps and nightlights, pillows and bedding. Have your children make lists for what they want in their new room. This way every time they go shopping with you they can keep an eye for their perfect items. Including them in planning their personal space will make the idea of moving quite appealing.
With all the packing and sorting that will be taking place, have your child pack his own belongings. This will make them feel involved in the move (because they are!) Provide them with a special duffle bag or suitcase so they can pack their most precious possessions in it. It will bring comfort for them to know that their important items are packed and will not be left behind.
Have your kids draw pictures of their homes, both old and new. They also might find it reassuring to write a story about moving. Helping them with these activities will ease their anxiety and bring you closer as a family.
Hopefully your children will avoid most of the stress a move can bring, and instead feel excited about it. By keeping the lines of communication open and including them in planning the move, it will help to calm any fears and anxiety a move can produce. And by doing this, you just might forget some of the stress yourself!