Preparing Your Kids for the Move

It has been said that individuals have little control over many of the things that happen to them in life, but they do have complete control over how they react to what happens.

Moving can often be hard on a family. Most experts agree that the key to a successful move is involvement. Families should try to involve children in the moving process if possible. If a child is involved in the move from the start, he or she will be much more accepting of the idea. If possible, let them come along on the house hunting trip. Point out their new school and other points of interest. If the children are unable to attend, take lots of pictures and get brochures to show them. They will undoubtedly have a lot of questions about their new hometown.

Remember that children are great mimics. If parents look on their move as a new start and an exciting adventure, children will likely mimic their attitude.

Once the children are aware of the move, parents should involve them in the planning and the physical process. Allowing children to pack their "special" things in a box and help carry belongings out to the moving truck gives them a sense of participation in the moving process. For young children, this is especially important, since moving may create a fear of abandonment.

It is important to show the children their new town. Once a family arrives at the new home, they should plan some fun group activities. It is easy to be consumed by the new job or the unpacking at the expense of the children. Families should make a point of visiting some of the attractions in the new location, having family outings, and exploring new things together.

Another aspect to successful relocation for children is to meet new friends. Encouraging children to participate in school activities, church, social events, youth programs, Scouts, and other similar programs is an important action for parents to take. Parents may have to facilitate the process, particularly for young children, by arranging get-togethers, play times or group outings with other parents of similarly aged children.

For most families, a relocation is an exciting time which can present great opportunities to experience new and different things. With some effort and planning on the family's part, the move will be something that the child will recall as a positive experience as the new location soon becomes "home."