How to Help Kids Adjust to Moving

Moving can be hard on everyone, but especially children. How should you help kids adjust to moving?

How to help kids adjust moving

Since our kids were born we’ve moved a few times, but it’s a lot different if you are moving in the same area or not. Our last move was seven and a half hours away. I was worried at how the kids would adjust and so I did my best to try and make it a smoother transition.

When we moved my kids were just about to turn 14, 12, and 9. A perfect age to hate your parents from moving you from everything you ever knew!

 

And in full disclosure, my oldest was definitely not happy with us in the beginning. But she adjusted quite quickly and now two years later she is the one who says she could never move back to where we lived before, she loves it here so much.

So, let’s talk about some ways to help kids adjust to moving.

How to help kids adjust to moving

Explain to them your reasons for moving

I’m a big believer that kids adjust to things quicker if they actually understand why we make the decisions we do for our family.  Kids are at the mercy of their parents deciding big things like where they live, so it helps if they can actually understand the reasoning. 

Sit your kids down and tell them exactly why you are moving, and what you hope it will accomplish.  Share your dreams and desires for your family for the future.  Even if kids are sad about moving, they may at least be able to make sense of why it has to happen and even agree with you that it’s the best choice for the family.

Find activities they like doing and get them involved

One of the things that we were able to do after moving is spend hours upon hours at the beach. This wasn’t possible where we used to live because the beaches cost money, were crowded, and not super close. So we made it a point to spend lots of time at the beach when we first moved and the kids loved it!

We also signed them up for soccer and summer camp. We got them involved in activities as quickly as possible so they could have fun and meet new people.

Find a connection beforehand if possible

If you have any connections to the place your moving beforehand, use them to your advantage. There was a woman I knew in the new area we were moving to and I knew she had a daughter around the same age as mine. I asked if my daughter could write her letters in the months leading up to our move.

My daughter and this girl wrote letters back and forth for awhile. This helped my daughter feel like she knew at least one person before moving away from the friends she did have. It helped her with some of the anxiety she faced about moving.

Acknowledge their feelings and allow your child to process them

It’s okay for the kids to be sad or upset about moving and is completely natural. Let your kids know it’s okay to feel the way they do. Let them have a good cry. And then remind them that it won’t always feel like this and it will get better.

Spend time exploring your new area

As soon as possible, spend some time checking out your new town or city. Find som cute little stores, or some gorgeous outdoor spaces. If you help the kids find places they could grow to love it’ll help them find something positive about the move.

Give it time

When you move to a new place it can take a while for it to feel like home. Give your kids time to adjust to the move. It won’t be an overnight process. They are going to be sad for a little while but then one day you may realize that your kids really love it in their new location. 

But it can take as long as a year and a half for kids (and even adults) to adjust.  So be prepared to be in it for the long haul.

I remember one time early in our move after a particularly rough day all three of my children were sad and missing where we moved from. I wondered if I had ruined their lives by moving them so far.

But that feeling for them passed and I now watch them as they are thriving and growing in ways I couldn’t imagine. Actually, we just got back from a trip to where we moved from and everyone was eager to get home back to their rinds and the landscape we’ve all grown to love so deeply.

Give them the freedom to decorate their bedroom

In a world where Pinterest perfect bedrooms are a serious thing, kids don’t get to design or decorate their room as often anymore. When you move, it helps to allow your child the freedom to do what they want to their bedroom. It helps them get excited. Let them put the posters up. Paint it in the colors they want. Move the furniture in the way they would like.

If they are excited about their new space it’s at least one thing they can smile about in the early transition period of the move.

Find ways to connect to the community

When you move it can be easy to isolate yourselves since you don’t know anyone. But how do you get to know people? By getting out in the community! And getting to know people will help both you, and your children belong and build friendships.

One of the reasons kids hate moving is because it can be lonely at first. They don’t know anyone. Find a local church, a library, sports clubs, or local events to get out there and meet the locals.

Spend quality time with your kids

Moving can be busy.  It’s easy to focus on things about the move and leave the kids to occupy themselves.  But this may be a time they really need to be reminded that they are loved and cared for by their parents, and to reassure them that no matter where you live, they always have you. 

Once you are moved in the unpacking can wait.  Make a point to spend some quality time with your children to help them feel settled.

Every child is different when it comes to moving

Remember that if you have multiple kids they will all process the move differently.  Some kids might find the transition easier than others.  Neither approach is wrong.  Our kids need to meet us where they are at and help them adjust to a new community, new school, new church, and new group of friends.  While the move can give them uncertainty, we as parents can still provide them stability.

Moving can be hard on everybody, but if you give it time and are compassionate with your children and their big feelings over the move it can make the transition a little easier. 

 

 

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