Change can be challenging. It doesn’t matter what age you are — leaving behind familiar spaces and faces can bring feelings of sadness or uncertainty. It can be even harder for children. The good news is you can make it easier for you and your kids by employing a few simple strategies. Here’s how to stay connected when moving your kids to a new house and ensure they feel comfortable before, during and after the big day. 

Before the Move

You’ll want to prepare your child ahead of time to ensure they process the idea of moving before it happens. You can prepare them for the big change by being transparent and setting up a transition plan to make it easier for them. Here are some strategies to follow.

Let Your Kids Know as Soon as You Make the Decision 

Help your kids work through this major life change by telling them as soon as the move is confirmed. This is an evidence-based strategy to help them be more open to change. They need ample time to process and think about what the move means.

Let them know in age-appropriate terms with direct and simple language explaining why the family needs to move. Are you moving to be closer to family? Is it for work? Will you be staying with your parents or blending with your family? Give them all the details. 

Include Them as You Look for a New Home

When I moved houses for the first time with my son, I sat him by the laptop so we could look at pictures of some of the homes on our list. I also got him involved by asking what he may want in our new home. Maybe your kids will want a large yard to play in or a swimming pool with a waterslide. Let them have a say as long as it’s realistic and within budget.

Take a Trip to the New Neighborhood

Consider making a family trip to your new city or neighborhood as part of your relocation package. This gives you a chance to build familiarity with the place and can make the prospect of moving more exciting for the kids. Look for activities they like — perhaps an afternoon of frisbee at a local park or a corner waffle shop.

Create Personalized Moving Checklists for Each Child

A personalized plan will make them feel involved and help them take ownership of their positions in the move. Even a five-item list of what they will put in their backpack on moving day can help. Consider items like a favorite toy and a set of PJs for younger kids and a book or gaming console for teens. 

If your kids are old enough, include them in the packing process and give them boxes to pack and label their room stuff. My son wanted to label each box with his name and a sticker to ensure movers knew where to put his stuff on move-in day. Let them get creative in how they pack or label. 

Create a Temporary Routine

Make it easier for younger kids to transition to the new home and new routine by easing them into a temporary “moving routine.” Developing a temporary routine early will prevent stress throughout the packing process and get your kids used to the idea of change before a completely new environment. 

Use different items throughout the day, like travel utensils that you’ll quickly pack away come moving day. You can also do this with their routines, maybe setting aside the same few hours every day for packing and switching up their night routine. Use it throughout the packing process, then phase it out as you settle into the new home. 

During the Move

Keep your kids engaged by letting them help or even assigning roles on move-in day. They can carry small items and help with sealing boxes — all ways for them to feel some control and involvement on the big day. Every step of the process matters. Here are a few things to do when you start moving. 

Introduce Your Kids to the Movers 

Think of how stressful it is to find the right movers and still trust that strangers walking in and out of your house pose no threat. Ensure your kids feel safe and are at ease by knowing who the movers are. 

Ask Family or Friends for a Few Hours of Babysitting

When it comes to heavier items, it’s safer to keep your kids away from movers to prevent injuries or mishaps. Lighten the load with a babysitter. 

With older kids, they will get tired and start to feel frustrated or restless as the process goes on. You will also need time to focus on tasks without them, such as a quick run to the store for extra boxes or ensuring every box in the kitchen is unpacked. 

Ask a family member or friend to keep them busy for an hour or two. It’s extra support for you and your kid. The familiarity with the person will also ease any stresses and make the transition easier. 

Have a “Goodbye Ceremony” Before You Leave the Old House

Give your kids some closure with a few moments to say goodbye to the empty house before you leave for good. Thank the house for all the good memories and let them share what they’ll miss. 

After the Move 

Once you’ve moved, you’ll want to ensure your kids feel settled and welcome in their new home. From unpacking their rooms first to throwing a house party, here are a few ways to make it easier for them. 

Unpack Their Stuff First

You’ll want to avoid an “Inside Out” meltdown — prioritize getting your child’s belongings unpacked and arranged. They will feel more grounded and stable during their first few nights in the new home if they are surrounded by familiar objects. 

Have a Bedroom Makeover for Each Child

The makeover can be anything from new paint or an accessory wall to new pillowcases and fluffy toys. Teenagers may want lowkey decorations like fairy lights or an artsy mirror, while younger kids may want to design their room around their favorite cartoon character or sport. 

Go Back to the Old Routine 

If bedtime before the move was 7:00 pm with a warm bath, a cup of milk and a bedtime story, get them back into it as soon as possible. Keep up traditions from the old house, like this bedtime routine or having dinner together at the table every night. This will help kids feel normal as they get used to the new space. 

Create New Routines Suited to the New House

In the same vein. Try some new routines or a family ritual to give a sense of safety and comfort in the new space. It should be unique to you and your kids, which can help them feel like they belong and support them as they develop their identity in a new place.

I made up a silly song that we sing when we reach the gate of our new home to keep him excited. You could try a handshake, cooking together a few times a week or exploring a local dessert joint every month. 

Check In With Your Kids Regularly 

Once you’ve settled in, set aside some time to talk. Go for a walk or some ice cream and ask them how they’re doing. In the frenzy of moving and organizing everything, you may miss a few warning signs of distress. Being intentional about asking how they are will help you give them any support they need while transitioning. 

Plan a House Warming Party 

A few weeks or a month in, plan a housewarming together. Let your kids pick out the menu or decorations and have some fun creating handmade invitations for each guest. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the move and to get to know new friends or neighbors. 

Befriend Other Parents in the Neighborhood

Look for local parent groups or get involved at your kids’ new school. You can also make new friends with similar interests to yours by volunteering, joining a sports club or signing up for a pottery class or art workshop. This creates the space for you to meet potential parent friends. You may find a lift club for hockey practice or advice on the best camping ground to visit on holidays. Surround yourself with a community to help you and your kids settle in well. 

Make the Moving Process Smoother 

Moving your kids to a new house can be a challenging and stressful experience for children. With patience, understanding, and a little extra effort, you can help your child adjust to their new surroundings and turn what could have been a difficult situation into a memorable adventure.

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About Jack Shaw

Jack Shaw is the senior lifestyle writer at Modded with special interest in navigating the ins and outs of interpersonal relationships and emotional health. You'll likely find him playing with his dog or exploring nature with his family in his free time.

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