The decision is now final. You have narrowed down the list of potential new homes, and you’ll be moving soon. Now comes the hardest part — planning the move and telling the kids. Children and adolescents typically aren’t thrilled by such an event. Fortunately, we have some steps you can take to ease the transition.

  • Be Positive!

Children are tuned into the emotions of their parents.  If your attitude about moving and your willingness to let your children share is a positive one, those around you will feel optimistic about their move experience.

  • Have a Family Meeting to Discuss the Move

You should never hide the fact that you are moving from your children. Call a family meeting and talk openly and positively about the details. Order some pizza and gather around table for a casual dinner and lots of conversation. Explain why your moving and tell your children that you’re excited about it. Encourage them to express their feelings and concerns. If this is their first time moving, it could be particularly difficult because they’re leaving their family home. Share with them your first-move experience. Talk about ways everyone in the family can contribute to the move so no one feels left out. Infants are least affected by a move, however, preschoolers may have a difficult time. Their sense of identity relies on their parents, the family routine and objects that are special to them.

  • Purge Before Packing

Let the kids know that now is a great time to cut through the clutter.  To eliminate stress, get them involved in the process.  Let them pack some of their special possessions. Throughout the house, there’s bound to be a ton of items that do not need to accompany you to the new home. Get the kids to help you go through the house, room by room, to identify what should go with you and what you could get rid of. Let them know that you don’t want to toss everything. It’s OK to keep certain things that hold important memories.  Never dispose of any of these items, no matter how old or tattered they may be.

  • Organize a Moving Sale

Once you’ve figured out what items you want to pack and what you want to purge, get the kids to help you organize a moving sale. They can help you sort through everything, organize it, and price and tag it. Let them know that the proceeds from the sale will be used for something for the family. In fact, you can have a family meeting and vote to decide on what that might be. Whatever it is, the more invested the kids are in the goal, the more helpful they’ll be with organizing the sale.

  • Make Room Plans

To get your children excited about the new house, start to make room plans. You don’t have to limit them  to just their rooms only. If they’re interested in helping arrange and decorate other rooms in the house, let them. Get them involved in paint colors or new furniture. For teenagers, set a budget and let them tackle their own rooms — picking out colors, linens, rugs and furniture. For younger kids, you can set a budget and work with them on executing their vision. Then, when it’s all done, you can invite some family or friends over for a “big reveal” like they do on TV.

To ease the adjustment to a new home, we suggest you prepare a traveling tote for each child that you will take with you and not on the moving truck.  This “special” tote should have their name on it and filled with all their favorite toys, games, music, a change of clothes and a snack.  Now they have something familiar at hand from the time they leave the old house to the time they arrive at the new home.

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