Here are 5 ways you can get kids excited about their fabulous new home.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 12 percent of Americans move each year. If you're planning on joining the ranks, you're probably thinking about how to break the news to your kids in a positive way. Depending on their ages and how comfortable they are in their present home, they may or may not be thrilled about the news. If you're looking to pump up the excitement.
Here are five ways to prepare your kids for an upcoming move to a new house:
Conquer the Unknown
Like adults, kids fear the unknown aspects of moving. To help them get "realistically" excited about their new neighborhood, Dr. Lori Woodring, a psychologist and author of "My Very Exciting, Sorta Scary, Big Move," suggests gaining familiarity with the new space. "The unknown is often scariest," she says. "Search the Internet together, go to the library and take out books and connect with other families from your new town." It may be helpful to show kids the new house, their future yard and neighborhood and other places close by that they may enjoy.
Visualize Their New Life
Images are a great way to help kids understand the scope of the move. "When possible, show photos of the new home and town," recommends Lisa Remey, a professional counselor and military mom. "When discussing the new home and location, share specific details with your child that will be the same, as well as exciting new things." Ask your real estate agent to send pictures of your kids' new rooms. Try to find unique details that your kids will be excited about, such as a nearby horse farm or a playground within walking distance.
Give Your Kids Some Control
Often, the hardest part of moving for kids is the sense of losing control over their lives. Most likely your kids are not asking to move. They probably don't appreciate being uprooted to start over and make new friends. As parents, you should try to understand your child's emotions and think of ways to make the move a good one based on individual likes and dislikes. One way to empower kids, according to Dr. Woodring, is to let them decorate their new room. Have them choose the paint color, brainstorm theme ideas and look at furniture in magazines.
Visit the New School
School is a huge part of every child's life, and your kids need to be comfortable with their new learning environment. You could start by having your child set up a special homework station somewhere in the new house, and practicing the walk from home to school. It's also important for parents to communicate with faculty and administrators. "Check the school website and plan a visit to the school if possible," Dr. Woodring advises. "If not, ask a staff member to email photos of the school and teachers." If you'd like other parents' recommendations about schools or communities, check out BigTent for local parenting groups willing to answer your questions.
Remind Your Kids of Things That Won't Change
Sometimes when you're moving, it feels like the entire world is changing. If your kids get overwhelmed, it's a good idea to remind them not everything is changing. They'll still be living with their family. They'll still have their toys and books. Many other aspects of their life might remain the same: Maybe Grandma still lives close by and can visit often, the new town has a baseball team just like the old one or your child's favorite chain restaurant is also nearby.
Moving to a new home can be a fun and exciting adventure, but it's still a tough adjustment for kids. Parents should watch for signs that their children are experiencing difficulty and be prepared to take action to ease anxiety. Sometimes all it takes is one good day at the new school or meeting one new friend to completely turn a situation around.
Are you still concerned about making a big move? Check out 14 Things People Forget When They Move to cover some of your bases.
Jennifer A. DiGiovanni is a freelance writer, small business owner, and mom of three. Connect with her on Twitter.