Moving into a new home is an exciting time for everyone. The dog explores her new back yard, you meet and make connections with your new neighbors, and your kids find new top-notch ways to build pillow forts during sleepovers. All the “new,” however exciting, can also be a bit scary and can cause some anxiety—especially for the kids. If you have recently moved into a new home or you’re thinking of moving, it’s important to consider the experience your children will have with this transition. A different home in a new location can all be a bit unfamiliar and therefore hard to accept.
Here are some of our favorite tips for helping children settle into a new home:
Be open and honest in talking about the move. Sometimes kids just want to know what’s going on. Whether you’re leaving town for a new job, moving just a few blocks away for a better home, or moving in with new family members, give your kids the most honest explanation you can. Especially if your children are old enough to understand and ask questions about the situation, it’s best for them to feel like they are involved in this change. You can work to make them excited about moving instead of just surprising them with the news.
Finish their rooms first. Before you get to finalizing the placement of living room furniture and unpacking all the kitchen supplies, unpack and organize your children’s rooms. Giving them their own space will help them readjust and feel more at home.
Cook a favorite family meal as soon as possible. Of course, the last thing you’ll probably want to think about after long days of moving and cleaning is cooking a large meal. However, as soon as you’re somewhat settled in and have the time on your hands, try to make your kids’ favorite meal and have the whole family together in your new home for dinner. Bringing this little piece of familiarity into the new environment will help your kids feel more at home. Having family dinners will also give everyone at the table some time to reconnect and talk about what they like about the new house or address any concerns/problems anyone might be facing.
Start a chore chart. As crazy as it may sound, beginning a chore chart may help your children adjust to your new home in a unique way. Start with simple, helpful tasks that will allow your kids to take ownership of their new space. Giving your kids chores is a good way to teach them timeliness and responsibility when they’re young, and can be a good way to make the move just a small part of a larger growth opportunity.
Get into old routines. Part of the fun of a new house are all the changes—new neighbors, new favorite restaurants, new backyard and so forth. It's nice to shake things up, but kids also respond positively to routine. To make your children more comfortable in their new home, try to resume parts of your old routine as quickly as possible.
If possible, visit the new home and community often before the move. In order to stir up excitement for the whole family regarding the move, make visits to the new area where you’ll be living before the moving date. Learn about what types of clubs, sports, and activities the community offers and try to get involved. If your new home is vacant before you move in, take your children into the home and show them where the living room will be, where their rooms will be, and talk about all the fun things you’ll do together in your new home. Being able to imagine living in the new home and getting excited about the move can help ease some of the scary feelings.
Regardless of the reason you’re moving, it can be an exciting time for everyone in your family. Try to focus on the positives in helping your children adjust, and remember these rules when you’re trying to adjust to the move yourself, too! If you have more tips for easing the family into a new home, please comment below!
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