“Family Moves – Can turn your family Upside Down!”

Moving is a very stressful time for both kids and adults.

You and your families stress level can hit the stratosphere if the whole family is not on board with this new change of life plans.

Wow! Work is transferring you – Now you’re thinking O my gosh, how do you get your kids ‘buy-in’ – they feel they are being forced to move, change environments, friends, teams, etc.? Remember it is VERY tough for ‘change’ with kids (and many adult as well!), so many unknowns. Oh there will most likely be lots of drama and tears, but these tips may help ease the transition of making the experience a very positive one for the whole family and close relatives.  Remember these tips:

  • Bring them into the big picture up-front – Include them!

If at all possible, sit down together and create a family wish list for your new home. Teens may want a new hang out spot, larger bedroom, game room, etc. Younger child may want to live near a park, other kids there age in the neighborhood, school.  Don’t make promises but, rather, let family members know their desires will be considered as you search for a new home. Becoming part of the search may help turn anxiety into excitement – set up family search time!

  • Listen-Listen-Listen!

Your kids may be excited about the move, or they may feel sad. Either way, you need to hear them out and help them work through their feelings. Set up regular ‘check-ins’.

  • Don’t be overwhelming with information – don’t ‘share’ too much all at once.

This is especially true if you need to move because of financial hardship. Knowing too many details about the family’s finances could just add to a child’s anxiety and fears – keep positive always.

  • Get them really excited about the move

Older kids may be able to help with online searches for information about houses, schools, nearby dog parks, sports, and more. Ask the kids to pack and label their own boxes will empower them to make decisions about how their new bedrooms will be decorated.  This will allow them to feel included and more in control of the changes.

  • Be earlier versus later with the big news

Better to be early with the big news all around – easier to prepare for the move overall. Worst thing would be that your kids hear about the move from a relative, neighbor, etc.  BE THE FIRST! When you talk about your families move, please allow ample time for your family talk and discussion as there may be lots of immediate questions.  Keep communications open at all times.

  • Give real details and info

Tell your children as much as possible about the city or area to which you’re moving the why and importance of job, etc. (Get your information ready to go)  Have photos ready to show them, know everything you can about the areas, teams, dance schools, martial arts, whatever interest schools they’ll be attending.  The more information you can provide – the less anxiety the kids will have and feel about the move.  Keep it light-hearted but don’t expect immediate buy-in from the kids! Patience!

  • Your family ‘stay connected’ strategies to work on

Work on a plan as a family – maybe assign someone to be the point person to develop the list. Social media, skype, oovoo, email and letters are great ways for families to keep connections open with family, neighbors/friends after the move.   Never promise trips back if you really don’t plan to follow through or too far a distance – there is always some kind of online face time or skype!

  • Saying ‘Good-Bye’

Discuss with family and friends how they’d like to say good-bye to friends. Maybe have a BBQ or party – 1 time/1place easier on all?  One last sleepover?   Create collage for all to sign or a scrapbook their friends can sign? Openly have ongoing discussions around the importance of move, the appreciation of all in making it happen, positive views on new place, new friends…

  • New Land!  New Space!  New Friends!

Will be very important for you and your family to venture out and about right away and explore your new area, parks, malls, library, neighborhood together. Set up a fun family day or night at least once a week to learn more about the area and offerings- maybe visit a zoo or museum..

Life is an adventure and at times requires us to stretch, move and learn more about ourselves, our families and our surroundings!  Enjoy!