Moving is a stressful time for everyone, but it can take an especially tough toll on the youngest members of your family. If you’ve been spending a lot of time getting ready for your family’s move it’s likely your kids have noticed the changes in your normal day-to-day activities even if they’re still pretty young.
Depending on how much time you’ve put into locating a new apartment you may have to spend a little extra effort getting them ready for their new home. There are things that can help make the move easier for your kids, especially when it comes to ways to help make them feel like their new apartment really is their home.
If you’ve been worried about how your kids will adjust to the move you definitely aren’t alone. This is a common concern for many parents out there. There are some great tips you can use to help make things as easy as possible for everyone in your family. Here are five ways to make your kids feel more at home in their new apartment.
1. Get Them Ready Ahead Of Time
When you know you’re going to have to move fight the urge to hide it from your kids. It’s important to give them time to process the fact that they’ll be moving soon. You may not want to tell very young children months in advance but older children would appreciate that time to adjust. You know your kids best so time telling them with what you know about them as a parent.
Keep the conversation as positive as possible but don’t ignore how they’re feeling. Moving is upsetting for kids especially if they feel like they’re going to lose friends and have to start all over at a new school or entirely new town. You can listen to their concerns and talk with them about their fears. Answer any questions they might have about the move itself.
If you can, let them come with you as you pick out your new apartment. They can see where they’re going to be moving and start to get a better idea of what their new room will look like. That can be something that’s very calming for children to imagine. Whatever you can do ahead of time to prepare them will be helpful in the end.
2. Give Them A Special Box
When you’re starting to pack let them decorate a box that’s for their favorite things; then let them pack that box themselves. You can be clear that nothing that’s getting packed is going to be thrown away and it will all make it to their new home, but letting them pack their favorite things themselves gives a little added security.
Instead of packing their special box with the rest of the stuff in the moving van see if it’s possible to let them keep it in the car as you drive to your new place. It’s another way to reassure them that their toys, their bedding, whatever they love is going to be there with them in their new room.
When you get to your new apartment let them unpack their special box first. Making sure they have some semblance of a room while you’re getting the rest of the apartment in order will be calming for them (and you) when they need a few minutes to themselves.
You can also make unpacking the rest of their things top priority so they have their whole room back together as soon as possible. Familiar things will help a child adjust more quickly.
3. Keep Your Routine (If You Can)
Moving to a new setting is already going to be something your child isn’t used to. You can settle some of their nerves and feelings of being overwhelmed by trying to keep their routine as close to normal as possible.
It depends on where you’re moving and how far away it is from your old place, but there should be at least a few things you can keep as part of your schedule. If you normally have game night every Friday, for example, then make sure you continue to do that after you move.
If you’re moving to an entirely new town (or even just a new school district) there are bound to be routine changes you can’t control. Talk with your child about those changes in advance and reassure them about the things that are going to be the same. You can let them know what isn’t going to be changing just as often as you let them know about what will be changing.
4. Put Your Brave Face On
Kids look to the adults in their life for cues on how they should be reacting to something. If you’re feeling like a nervous wreck about the move, that’s ok, and normal but try to let your child see you being calm and brave too. It’s okay to be emotional about saying good-bye to friends but you should also look confident and pulled together as you meet your new neighbors.
The more you can be confident about the new place you’re living the more your kids will pick up on those cues. If you need to take a moment or two by yourself to feel a little frazzled that’s okay but if at all possible try to let your kids see you making calm decisions and being collected about things. Moving is tough on everyone and it’s okay to let that show a little, but don’t be so chaotic that your child starts to think something is desperately wrong.
5. Give Them Time
Some experts say it can take up to six months for a child to adjust fully to their new surroundings. During that time try to give them a little space and room to breathe as they get used to things. If they’re very young, you may have to deal with a few more tantrums than normal especially at first.
As they get used to their new home and start meeting new friends things will get easier for everyone. This may even be a great time to let them try out new activities that will give them something to look forward to when they’re getting used to things. Just keep in mind that it’s a process and you’ll need to allow time for everyone to get acclimated.
Moving with children is a tough thing to do but it doesn’t have to be impossible. You can keep these tips in mind and help your child adjust as much as possible using them. Remember that even with these tips it’s not going to be extremely easy, but you’ll at least be able to help them feel more calm and at home as they move into their new apartment and that’s what’s important.
After you’ve given them time to adjust and they’re enjoying their new room and your new home this move will hardly be a blip on the radar of things on their mind. It might take a little extra patience to get to that point. It will be worth it when everything is unpacked and everyone is happily settled in. Enjoy your new apartment!