An ordinary move is difficult enough. But if you have children and the move is brought about by divorce, death, or some other family upset, the stress can become serious. You’re probably not a therapist, a counselor, or a psychic. But there are things you can do to help ease the transition for the children in the family. Here are ten creative ideas to get you thinking.
- Get connected. Do some general research ahead of time and develop contacts and connections for both parents and kids. Create a contact list that could include dentists, pediatricians, emergency numbers, and school contacts. You can even customize your list with the names of teachers or school counselors.
- Have fun. For the kids, create a special list of parks and other recreation facilities such as pools, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and skating rinks. If there are special activities for kids, like free Saturday matinees at the local theater, be sure to list days and times.
- Let’s go surfing. If you’re relocating from out of town, make a list of website addresses the kids can explore online before they arrive. Add links to any extracurricular activities you think they might be interested in, such as local sports teams, public parks, music teachers, or dance classes.
- Be a tour guide. Plan a special tour just for the kids. Show them around their new neighborhood, stop for an ice cream or a pizza. If you know local kids of the same age, invite them along and give the kids a chance to meet some potential friends.
- School’s in. Get connected to local schools, so you can easily call up the principal, counselor, or someone on the staff when you have new students coming in. Arrange a visit or tour. Find out what extracurricular activities they are interested in, so they can meet the volleyball coach, band leader, or art teacher while they are there. If there’s an enrollment packet or list of required documents, be sure you have that in advance.
- Think small. Younger children are fearful too, because their normal routine is being upset and it may be hard for them to understand what moving really means. Put together a special care kit to keep in your office or car. Include some cuddly stuffed animals, coloring books, or other amusing distractions. Always include them in the conversation if they are in the room when you’re talking about moving. Use toys and other props to tell stories that will help them understand the moving process.
- Encourage conversation. Whether big or small, children benefit from a chance to talk and to be heard. Don’t ignore the fact that they are leaving friends and familiarity behind. Whenever possible, relate their likes to local possibilities in their new neighborhood.
- A house IS a home. Do everything possible to help kids feel at home in their home. In advance, you can send emails with pictures of “their” new rooms. If they have pets, talk about the yard and other places to play. Take them to the property and give them plenty of time to explore and ask questions.
- Create a “care” package. Put together an age-appropriate box of goodies to deliver on move-in day. Gift certificates to the local pizza place that delivers, some movies, books, or video games to keep them amused until theirs get unpacked, in short—anything that will help them feel comfortable during their first few days in a new and unfamiliar place.
- Follow up. Once you’ve moved in don’t forget about the kids. Talk to them frequently to see if everything is going smoothly, if they’ve made the connections and found the resources they need.
Whether they are toddlers or teens, moving is stressful for children. Not to mention their parents. The small things you do can make a huge difference. You can help to break that cycle of stress and make the move a positive experience for everyone!
Thanks to Winning Agent