MOVING WITH KIDS: MAKING RELOCATION AS SMOOTH AS POSSIBLE
When you’re a parent, your entire worldview shifts. Apart from having to be a responsible adult and the head of the household, you are also a guardian of people who can’t yet make their own decisions, which means that each choice you make affects others in more than a few ways. One of the most extreme examples of this is the scenario where you’re supposed to move your household. On top of changing your own habitat, this also means moving your kids from perhaps the only home they’ve ever known. It means leaving their friends, school, and playground behind and going into the unknown.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of your worries. Apart from having to juggle between explaining the necessity of the move to your kid(s) and handling their emotions as carefully as possible, you also need to handle the logistics behind the move. You need to clean up the home you’re leaving behind, hire movers, handle the issues of storage, and prepare your target destination for your arrival. While these issues might be extremely difficult, being a parent was never supposed to be easy in the first place. This being said, here are some relocation tricks that are supposed to make the move much easier for your kids.
Be honest with them
The first mistake that parents make when breaking the news to their kids about relocating is believing that they wouldn’t possibly understand without even trying to explain what’s going on. You see, moving for your job or moving to a location you believe is going to be better for your family is something that your child might understand. For this to work, however, you need to start by explaining how all of this is going to affect them. Explain to them the benefits of moving to the suburbs, the perks of having a larger backyard or a playground in the vicinity of their household.
Moreover, don’t make the false assumption that your kid can’t understand the significance of money in the modern age, nor try to postpone this conversation for the near future. Try to explain just how this increase to your household budget will affect your family as a whole and how this will allow you and your family to afford more necessities or even luxuries. In other words, this is a perfect opportunity to teach them an additional lesson or two.
Keep the communication open
After you’ve agreed that the move is the right thing to do, you need to keep the communication open with your kids every step of the way and include them in the process. Of course, you don’t have to burden them with the price of hiring professional movers, the logistics behind the cancellation of magazine subscriptions, and other such things – although it might be a good idea to keep them on the schedule.
The day before you start packing, tell them that it is their responsibility to pack all their favourite toys and clothes and inform them before the day of the actual move arrives. Apart from this, it might be a good idea to throw a farewell party in order to help your kids say goodbye to their old neighbourhood. Aside from their peers, they might have their favourite grandma or grandpa next door, so make sure not to leave any such issues unresolved if you aim to make this transition as smooth as possible.
This brings us to one of the hardest issues when it comes to the actual process of packing. First of all, people who move to another continent or even across the country may not be able to take everything with them. This causes some items to get left behind. Apart from this, the place you’re moving to might be slightly smaller in size than your current home, which will result in some tough choices.
You see, if you have a piece of a particularly important family heirloom, it might be a better idea not to sell or discard it just yet. So, if your new home has an attic or basement, you might want to think about storing them there until you get the opportunity to use them again. On the other hand, if these storage areas of your home are already completely filled in, you might want to look for local storage facilities in your new area as a temporary solution.
Give them a role
In one of the previous sections, we mentioned that putting your children in charge of a certain aspect of the move might be a good idea; however, just packing their toys might not be enough. When going to visit your future home, you might want to take them along and show them exactly where you’re going. Upon arrival, take them to their room and help them envision what it will look like once they settle in.
In fact, if you plan a massive remodeling project of their room, you should even ask them about their opinion on certain matters. Of course, you should still call most of the shots, but you could single out a couple of options (e.g., a few choices of hues for the walls) and ask them to pick one. Furthermore, you might want to start making a scrapbook of the move in order to keep them as busy as possible.
At the end of the day, relocation is hard for the parent as well – not just for the child. They’re also the ones leaving their home, their job, and their friends, which is why it is vital that they find their own way of dealing with it. If your child can see that you’re upset, exhausted, or outright unhappy about the move, they might start seeing it this way as well. Therefore, the key to pulling off this move as smoothly as possible is to start by finding a balance yourself and then proceeding to do the same for your child.
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