Moving with Children

Whether you’re moving to Missoula or anywhere else, it’s a very stressful time. Even though the adults are responsible for most of the move, moving with children brings its own set of challenges because moving is also very stressful for kids. While no amount preparation can make a move stress-free, there are some simple things you can do to make moving with children as easy and painless as possible.

It is easy for parents to forget how much of their children’s security is wrapped up in their home. They have their bedroom, their possessions, and their routines. Disrupting all this can make children anxious. By helping your children understand the moving process and finding ways to make them feel secure, you can help your child complete a move with minimal emotional upset.

How do you do this? Start by having a conversation with your child about the move. It is important to explain where you will be moving and why the move is necessary. It’s also important to share with them your own excitement for the move and help them understand all of the good things will be about their new home.

There will undoubtedly be questions, so answer them as honestly as you can. Let your kids know that it’s okay to be scared or nervous, but be sure to emphasize all of the new things they can discover and enjoy.

If your children are preschool age or younger, it can be especially traumatic to see their favorite things packed away into boxes. To prevent assumptions that you are throwing their things away, take time to explain. Make sure they understand that their toys and possessions must be packed away safely so they can make it to their new home safe and sound.

If possible, let children help pack their possessions. This gives them the chance to give their special toys and possessions extra care and attention. Kids love to be included, and letting them help in the packing process can make them feel like they are making a contribution.

Consider giving younger children a special suitcase to store some of their favorite toys. These toys can be played with up until the move, and immediately upon arrival at the new home before other items can be unpacked. This allows little ones to have more control over the moving process and helps prevent some of the anxiety and stress.

Although timing your move to occur at a certain time of the year may not be feasible, if at all possible, consider moving in the summer if you have children enrolled in school. Moving school-age children in the middle of a school year usually means changing schools mid year. This can be a more stressful adjustment than changing at the beginning of an academic year. If you have to move mid school year, make sure you talk to both schools about the transfer process to make the transition as easy as possible for your children.

The most important thing to remember when moving with kids is to make them feel like an important part of the process. Keep positive conversation flowing so that kids feel secure and confident about the move.  The more you engage your children in the process, the more quickly and easily they will adapt to their new home.