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Mandy Kloppers

Coping with Moving Out of the Family Home: A Guide for Families With Children

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A new home can represent a world of fresh possibilities. However, there are relatively few people who relish the idea of moving house. The difficulties of the situation can be further compounded when your family has children.

This doesn’t just make things challenging from a practical standpoint. The idea of moving can be psychologically and emotionally difficult for children. After all, they’re leaving a property or neighborhood they consider to be a safe space in exchange for the unknown. They might have various anxieties about making new friends or the prospect of a cross-country journey. Not to mention that the stress of moving day is difficult for everyone to navigate.

It’s important, then, to pay careful consideration to moving home when you have children. Take some time to establish preparations, plans, and coping mechanisms that help everyone involved have a positive experience.

Choosing the Right Space

The first consideration for families with children should be choosing an appropriate home. Given how emotionally and psychologically challenging the moving process can be for kids, you certainly don’t want to repeat it on more occasions than are strictly necessary. By taking a little extra time to make well-informed decisions, you can also ensure your family has a space you can all start making positive memories in from the moment you arrive.

When determining where you want to live, consider not just the size of your family, but also what kind of community would best suit your lifestyle. Keep in mind that real estate market values have shifted in part due to the rise in remote work. Many families who have caregivers working from home may be looking for spaces with spare rooms to have a home office in, for example, so you might find more competition for these types of properties than you normally would. You may also find living in a suburban location is better for your family than residing in a big city, in part because non-urban communities tend to be more affordable but offer the same types of amenities.  

You should also consider if you want your new house to have a spacious backyard or access to trails and recreational spaces to help your kids get outside. Engaging in outdoor activities — such as gardening, hiking, or participating in outdoor crafts — are ways to support your child’s ongoing emotional and mental wellness. Having outside time is also a great way to teach your kids to respect nature. If you’re going to move and have the option to do so, moving closer to outdoor access can be a boon for your children’s development. 

Taking an Organized Approach

Once you’ve purchased the property, moving day tends to roll around faster than you may expect. Unfortunately, this can be a period of stress for everyone involved. If the situation is particularly chaotic, it’s not unusual for tensions to build and for your children to become upset, confused, or agitated. The last thing you want is for arguments and anxiety to spoil your intentions for a positive new start. Therefore, it’s wise to begin organizing your moving day at the earliest opportunity.

Create a comprehensive plan for moving with your kids. Establish a timeline that takes you up to the moving day and populate it with the tasks that must be completed by different deadlines along the way. This can include identifying professional movies to reduce some of the burden and downsizing non-essential belongings. For young children, you may also find it helpful to research and book childcare for moving day to minimize potential chaos.

It’s important to remember to make arrangements for when you all arrive at your new home, too. If possible, schedule some time to clean the property and take care of any safety-related improvements before moving day. You could also help your children adjust to their new surroundings by filling the home with familiar scents or setting out a basket with some toys and treats. This can create a more comforting and welcoming space for your children when they first arrive, easing the stress of the experience.

Keeping Your Kids Involved

Many parents seek to keep their kids disconnected from the moving process. This is understandable, as there’s a lot of activity going on and kids’ behavior may sometimes be impractical. However, it’s vital to remember that this can be a difficult experience for your children. Keeping them involved in the moving activities can reassure them, give them a sense of control, and direct their attention in practical ways.

Start by openly communicating about the situation. Letting your kids know about your plans early on can give them time to get used to the idea of moving. Discuss any concerns they might have. For instance, they may be worried about moving to a new school or leaving friends behind. Take these issues seriously and work together to find potential solutions. Give them something to look forward to, as well! Talk about the new location, what their room is like, and even plans for decorating.

During the planning and moving process, give your child age-appropriate jobs to perform. This might include choosing which items to keep and which to give to charity. Engaging your older children in elements like checking care maintenance before the long journey can double up as positive learning experiences, too. Importantly, keep checking in with your child in the days leading up to the move to ensure they have the support and reassurance they need.

Conclusion

Moving can be an emotionally and psychologically difficult experience for families with children. It’s important to first select an appropriate property to minimize the need to move again and provide your kids with the resources they need to thrive. Being organized in your moving preparations can minimize stress for everyone. Don’t forget to involve your kids in the process through both open discussion and appropriate activities.

In addition, be mindful of the fact that your kids’ challenges surrounding moving may not end once they step into the new house. There can be difficult transitions as they navigate new schools, communities, and relationships. Be vigilant of your children’s needs and offer consistent love and support.

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