People can move to new homes for many reasons. Some move so that they can accept a job elsewhere; others move because they want to live in a safer neighborhood, and some people need a cheaper place to stay. Moving is never an easy process, either. People often have to uproot their entire lives and leave familiar surroundings for some place that might be completely different. It’s hard enough on adults, but it can be particularly trying for children. Older children may understand why they have to move to a new home, but younger children may not. All they know is that they are leaving the place they call “home” behind, along with their friends and everything they know. It’s tough, and parents need to do all they can to support their children whenever they move.
Age Makes a Difference
The age of your children can make a huge difference in how they are affected by a big move. Older children and teenagers will likely understand why it’s important to move to a new home; they might even be used to it if you’ve moved before. However, younger children may have more trouble understanding what’s happening. Infants and toddlers will almost certainly not understand why the only home and life they know are changing. Often, infants and toddlers react to the emotions of those around them, so one of the keys to moving if you have small children is to remain calm and stick to your regular routine as much as possible.
Timing is Critical
Although you may not be able to decide when it’s time to move, it’s best to stay away from a busy season and time your move so it happens when not much is going on in your family’s life. For example, school-age children do best when they move during the summer as opposed to in the middle of a school year. This will give them time to adjust to a new house, a new neighborhood and a new school. Compromises may need to be made if the timing of a move isn’t ideal, and some families have even allowed their school-age children to stay with friends or relatives to finish off the school year before moving into a new home.
Inviting Old Friends to the New Home
Part of the reason moving to a new home is so difficult for children is that they feel they are leaving their friends behind. They might be used to going down the street to visit their best friends, and without this in their lives, they may not know what to do in their new homes. Once you’ve settled into a new home, take the time to invite your children’s friends for a visit. These friendly and familiar faces will help your children adjust to the changes in their lives. If that is too difficult to manage, you can also bring your children back to their old neighborhood to visit their friends once in a while. Sometimes seeing old friends will be enough to relieve the stress of moving someplace new.
Overall, helping your children adjust to a big move comes down to relieving stress. Moving to a new home is one of the most stressful things a person can do, especially if that person is too young to fully understand what is going on. Be patient; try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible, and assure your children that their lives will be back to normal before they know it.
Byline: Andrea Blaylock is a mother of two young girls. When her family moved to Austin, she used North Dallas Moving and Storage to help manage the shipment of everything.