In a recent Omaha World-Herald article, Kendra Perley describes how much more difficult it is moving with children: “My husband and I have been considering a move for a few years after living in our first home for seven. Our oldest child starts kindergarten next fall, and I always planned to move before he started school, so we wouldn’t have to switch schools while he was enrolled.
But let me tell you — trying to find the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood is a lot more difficult when you have kids to consider. I never imagined this process would hit my mama heart as it has. Are we doing the right thing? Will they like their new home? Will they find and play with new friends? If I let it consume me too much, I end up at the point of wanting to shut my doors and stay safe in the comfort of our current home forever.
More and more families are moving from dense city living to sparcer burb or country living. How do they manage all the changes their children will experience?
Here are 11 Tips for Moving with Children.
Once you have decided to move, call a family meeting. If you’re moving because of a promotion or a new job, tell your children that you’re excited about it. Explain why you took it and how it will impact the entire family. Tell them how you feel about the move. Please encourage them to express their feelings and concerns.
If this is their first time moving, it could be incredibly difficult because they’re leaving their family home. Share with them your first move. Let them know you’ll be depending on them to help out during the move, from packing to settling into the new place.
Involve kids in planning as much as possible. Make them feel like participants in the house-hunting process. Show them balloons floating in the clouds above Nebraska and information about the houses you are considering. Ask them what they like about each one. Let them know you’ll consider their comments.
Children of different ages react differently – Kids younger than six may be the easiest to move, as they have a limited capacity to understand the changes involved. Kids in elementary school may be relatively open to a move, but still, need serious consideration and help throughout the transition. The most resistant to change may be teens. They may actively rebel against a move. Your teen has probably invested considerable energy in a particular social group and might be involved in a romantic relationship. A move may mean that your teen will miss a long-awaited event, like a prom. It’s particularly essential that you empathize with them and that you understand their concerns.
Purge – Go through the house with the kids deciding what must go to the new home and what will stay. Create a “toss pile” of clothes and toys that they no longer use. They can be given away or sold.
Prepare for a moving sale – Have the children help prepare for a garage sale and, as a family, decide how to spend the proceeds—something to look forward to; a new flat-screen TV or the dog everyone wants.
Research the new place – Start a scrapbook of things to do and places to go in the new location. Encourage them to go online to research schools, the community, the local paper, and magazines.
Howstuffworks suggests one of the last things before the move should be a “See You Soon” party. During the party, please make sure everyone exchanges contact information and take photos of your kids with their friends. Between texting, e-mails, and phone calls, your kids should be able to maintain old friendships while transitioning to their new surroundings and making new friends.”
Make a memory book – The memory book is one of the 11 tips for moving with children and can be a real source of stability to have pictures of the old house, rooms, and friends.
Say goodbye – Have a family meeting or a final family dinner in the old house, and each tells what they most liked about the place. For example, you can tell them how much you valued their help growing artichokes in the backyard. Be grateful for all the old memories, and look forward to making new memories in the new house.
After unpacking, tour the city – If there is a guidebook for Omaha, sit down with the kids to plan some fun outings around the area. Whatever you choose to do, it’s vital to engage your kids and show them all that the new hometown has to offer.
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