My husband has been a offered a position in Dallas and our family is about to begin the process of relocating and moving to a new home. My two youngest children are really anxious about moving from the only home they have ever known. Do you have any suggestions to make the transition easier? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
One of the toughest parts of moving to a new home can be sharing the information with your children. This can be a challenge even when the move is within the same community. Moving to a new area may add an extra layer of anxiety or uncertainty. The key is to make certain that you are sensitive to their feelings and concerns, that you keep them informed, and that you help them to feel that they are a part of the process.
First, you will want to tell your children as soon as possible. You don’t want a child to hear about the move by accident and have time to let the anxiety or stress start to brew before you can walk them through it. Dr. Joseph B. Keegan, certified clinical psychologist says, “For a child, much of the stress associated with moving relates to dealing with the unknown. Given this, it is important for you to talk with your children about the move. Share the details that you think they can understand, encourage their questions, and listen to what they have to say.”
As you prepare for your move, expect for your children to have a range of emotions and behaviors. It’s important to let them know that you are hearing their concerns and understand how they feel. You, too, will probably be feeling a range of emotions. Remember that your attitude will likely influence your children’s attitude. If you are positive and enthusiastic about the new opportunities in store, your children are more likely to feel the same way.
Also, be sure to involve your children in all aspects of the move. Create a “wish list” for your new home together. Take them with you on house-hunting trips, or take photos or videos of the home that you select. Give them “assignments” in the backseat while house-hunting, such as drawing a picture of how their new room will look or listing their favorite elements of each home that you see. Many children will respond more favorably if they are involved in the decision of which home to buy.
Over the years I’ve seen that there is one element of a move that many younger children find confusing. They associate the furnishings inside of a home with that particular home. It is important that they understand that their bed, their toys, their books will all be coming with them to the new home. Drawing out a floorplan showing where their bed and other furnishings will be placed generally helps to solidify their understanding.
Finally, be sure to share your expectations. Examples include good behavior while looking for new homes, keeping their rooms clean and helping with the packing. Rewarding their cooperation and maintaining a positive attitude should make this transition as smooth as possible for you and your family.
If you’ve worked with a Realtor here in College Station, be sure to contact them and ask for a referral in the Dallas area. Most realtors maintain a referral network of reliable agents in neighboring cities. You may want to ask for 2 or 3 Realtors to interview so that you can decide which Realtor is the best match for your needs.
Congratulations on this new opportunity for your family!