Preparing Kids to Move
By Diane Schmidt
Moving can be tough on kids; it’s quite normal for children to feel like they don’t have any control
and that they were never part of this big decision. So to ensure your kids feel like they’re involved
and part of this big life-changing event, try the following tips and tricks.
Preparing to Move
First, make sure your children know that they can ask you any question and you’ll give
them an honest answer. Most kids want to know about their new school, neighbourhood,
sport teams and city. But they may also have questions you hadn’t thought of, such as, “how
hard is it to make friends?”; “Are we taking our dog?”; “Why are we moving?”. Answer every
question your child has with as many details as you can provide. Being honest and open will
help your child feel confident in this decision to move. You may want to ask your child to write
down their questions as they think of them, then call a family meeting to discuss each person’s
questions. Family meetings are a great way to open up a dialogue between you and your
children. And you can make it fun, too! Just set time aside and make everyone is home.
Give your child a plan for their room. Providing your child with as much information as you
can about the new house will help them make some decisions before hand, such as where to
place furniture and what color to paint their walls. Encourage them to make cut-outs of
everything in their room so they can rearrange things before move day.
Encourage your child to create an address book where addresses of friends, teachers,
coaches, etc… can be kept. Encourage your child to stay in touch, and assure them that their
friends are just a mouse-click or postage stamp away.
Help your child plan their goodbyes. Some may want a party while others prefer having a few
close friends over for a final slumber party. Your child may want a few separate events, for
example, one for school friends, one for neighbours and another for the baseball team. As best
you can, try to accommodate their wishes, within reason. Saying goodbye is an important step
in the moving process.
Ask them to sort out their things. Give each child a list of tasks to do, including sorting out
their room. Ask them to donate or add to the garage sale items any unused toys or toys they no
longer play with, along with clothing they’ve out-grown. Show children how to properly pack
and label a box, then make a “packing date” where both you and your child spend time sorting
and packing. Children will find it easier to do these tasks if the entire family is also involved.
Reward “packing dates” with pizza or movie nights.
Tell your children to make a special box just for moving day essentials. You can call it
“Moving Survival Kit”. It should include those essentials your child will need during the move.
Encourage them to decorate the box to make it their own. The kit should include games and
books to keep them busy on the road. Your child may also want to include their address book or
photos of friends. Essentials such as toothbrushes, clothes, etc… can be packed in a suitcase.
The survival kit should be all about fun!
Make time for saying goodbye to favourite haunts. Is there a special ice-cream shop your
child liked to visit? What about a museum, or park, or swimming pool? Ask your child to make a
list, or make a list with the entire family, then set aside time each week to do at least one
favourite thing. If you decide to do this as a family, make sure everyone is included. Make a
calendar and mark out the days and event/place you’ll go. This will prepare your child for
saying goodbye to special places.