5 Tips on Helping Your Kids With a Long-Distance Move
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Moving to another state offers opportunities, but it comes with big challenges, too. The moving process can be filled with stress and anxiety, as you consider the financial impact, the physical toll, and the emotional effects this will have on you. Change can be difficult, and leaving a familiar place for a new environment can be daunting.
For those people who have children, the challenges are even greater. Moving can affect kids even more significantly. Kids may feel resentful, angry, sad, or confused about this decision. Leaving behind friends, schools, activities, and those routines to which they have become accustomed can be a lot to bear for children and teens alike.
As a parent, you need to be aware of these feelings and emotions. Shrugging off your child’s concerns and telling them to “deal with” the move is not a good strategy. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease your children into this important transition.
Be Honest About the Move
As soon as you decide you are going to move, inform your children. How you tell them and what you say exactly will depend on how old your kids are. Regardless, be open and honest about this decision. Explain to your kids what factors were involved in choosing to move. You may be getting a new job, you may be moving closer to other family members, or perhaps you felt that a fresh, new start somewhere else made sense.
Your kids deserve to understand the rationale behind your move. The news may be difficult for them to hear, but don’t sugarcoat it. Be upfront about the details, including when you will be moving, how far away the new home will be, and what needs to happen between now and then to make the move successful.
Let Your Children Express Their Feelings
Once you decide to move, there’s probably nothing your kids can say that will change your mind. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a chance to talk about it. Your kids may be unhappy with this development, and they may blame you for the troubles this is causing them. Still, let them unload on you how they are feeling about the move. Recognize that their emotions are real. Don’t dismiss their feelings and make them feel invalid.
Learn About Your New Home Together
Chances are good that they and your kids don’t know much about your new destination. A long-distance move to an unfamiliar city can be scary for both you and your children. Take some time together to research the place. Learn what the climate is like, what activities are available, what popular sightseeing attractions there are nearby, and other important day-to-day factors.
You can also lookup schools in the area and find out where your kids are going. Let them see pictures of it and read about the school’s history and other facts. Help your kids get excited about the new city and identify things that you can enjoy together.
A long-distance move may make it difficult to visit the new city before you leave. If possible, plan a trip to go in person in the weeks or months before you move. This can help to familiarize your child with their soon-to-be home.
Hire a Professional Moving Company
Picking a team of professional movers is a good idea for anyone getting ready for a move. If you have children, this can be especially helpful. One of the biggest reasons why is that professional moving companies are fast and efficient. They will do most of the physical work, such as lifting, moving, and loading boxes and other belongings onto the truck. Once you arrive at your new home, the movers will unload everything inside.
Taking this responsibility off your shoulders will give you more time to spend with your children. You can take that time to maintain regular routines and spend some quiet moments together getting ready for the move.
Involve Them in the Process
Regardless of how old your kids are, let them help with moving preparations. There are age-appropriate activities for everyone as you go through the steps to move. Let young children help with packing up their toys and games. You can even let them pick the paint colors of their new room. Older kids can help you declutter your old home and organize the new one when you arrive.
Giving your kids something to keep them busy will help take their minds off the negative feelings about moving. They will feel part of the family and decision-making process.
Moving is never easy for children, especially if you are going a long-distance. Leaving people and activities they are used to can make them feel uneasy, uncertain, and upset. Your children can feel peace of mind and be more likely to accept this decision when you follow these steps.
Written by Kara Griffin. Kara is the communications manager at ProMoverReviews.com, which compares moving companies across the U.S. using a rigorous and proprietary set of standards. PMR knows firsthand how stressful the moving process can be without preparation or reliable help. Our goal is to keep you informed and help you gear up for your move from start to finish.
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