Preparing Children to Move

Moving Day and the moving experience is exciting yet stressful for the entire family! Prepare your children well in advance for this new phase in their lives, and make sure they are properly cared for on the Big Day as well.

Quick Tips for Moving with Children

•- Inform children about the move as early as possible

•- Encourage children to ask questions and express any concerns they may have about moving

•- Familiarize children with the new neighborhood (by a map, or online in the case of a long-distance move) and drive through the new area to show them the location of schools, bus stops and bus routes, stores, parks, libraries, et cetera

•- Walk children through their new routes to school

•- Sign your kids up to their favorite sports group, club, or extra-curricular activity as soon as possible

•- Join local religious organizations as a means of meeting the community

•- On Moving Day, make sure young children are properly cared for by a babysitter or an older family member or friend

•- Give older children specific tasks to do on Moving Day so that they feel useful and so that they don't get in the way

Children's Documents

Don't forget to order and keep accessible important documents such as children's previous school records and transcripts, including photocopies for you and for their new schools. You should also bring with past medical and dental records for the entire family, and remember that many schools require children to have up-to-date immunization shots.

Moving in the Summertime

For kids, summer may be the best time to move since it does not interrupt their school year, they are free to help pack and move, and summertime offers children time to meet new friends and neighbors before the next school year begins. During the summer kids can acclimatize to their new surroundings, become familiar with bus routes, and perhaps even meet their new principal and teachers.

Children's Emotions

Remember that not all children react in the same way to the news that they are moving. While some kids get excited, others may cry, sulk, be angry, confused, depressed or overwhelmed. Furthermore, children's emotions are likely to evolve and change over time as they digest the big news.

Giving your children ample time to adjust to the idea of moving. The opportunity to freely express how they feel is essential to help them with this transition. Remember that no matter what the circumstances are surrounding the move, relocating is a disruption to a child's life.

When parents maintain a positive, upbeat attitude, children often pick up on and adopt this same energy. Try to include children in decisions about moving and in the moving process; this goes a long way in helping children warm up to the prospect of moving.

Smoothing the Way

Here are some creative tips for smoothing the transition of moving for children:

•- Let children design or decorate their new room

•- Sign children up for an extra-curricular activity of their choice

•- Plan a "fun day" exploring the new neighborhood or city, taking in special sights and attractions and eating out in restaurants

•- To help them stay in touch with friends and family, encourage children to collect phone numbers, email addresses, and addresses of their favorite people

•- Offer children the opportunity to host a goodbye party where they can take pictures with their friends, have fun, and create some lasting memories