Moving to a new house can be an extremely stressful event in any adult’s life. When small children and pets are involved, the responsibilities for a safe and smooth transition can be compounded. Planning ahead and practicing good moving techniques can help you and your dependents successfully switch homes without a fuss. While every child is unique, and brings with them their own temperament and ideas about moving, a seamless transition from one home to another is possible. Even pets can learn to love their new homes, if you follow the tips listed below.
It can be a good idea to advise your child of your plans for moving as soon as possible. Generally, young children may only need a month’s notice, while older kids, with their own responsibilities and commitments, may need a little longer to prepare themselves. Make your child part of the conversation by offering to answer any questions about the move. Be honest about the advantages and possible disadvantages of moving, but remain optimistic. A child will be able to sense your own feelings about a change of residence, and will likely adopt them.
Ease any of your child’s fears by taking trips to your new home’s location. Encourage excitement by pointing out all the great attributes that your new home offers. Consider enrolling your child in sports or recreational activities in the new neighborhood before you move. These activities may give them something fun and familiar to anticipate once you’ve finished moving. If your child is very young, read age-appropriate books about moving together.
While you should be doing your best moving with kids things to their new home, avoid accidentally packing their favorite and most treasured items until you absolutely have to. Objects that function as security objects, like teddy bears or blankies, will need to be kept on hand. They can be especially important on the last day of the move, when your child will say their farewells to their old home, neighbors and friends.
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During the Move
To help reduce your child’s fear about moving, involve them in moving tasks. Giving them special jobs to complete can make them feel as if their help is needed and appreciated, and can provide them with a sense of accomplishment. Keep him thoroughly engaged in the moving process. For example, if you’re moving heavy boxes filled with your child’s personal belongings, asking them where they prefer certain things in their new room will allow them some control over their surroundings. If your child is especially anxious about the move, consider recreating their old room as best as you can in your new home.
Stepping into intimately familiar surroundings can help allay negative emotions associated with moving house. Children who are very young may benefit from staying with babysitters while you complete your moving responsibilities. Leaving with your child with a guardian can help you concentrate on the tasks at hand, and may even help you accomplish moving faster. Pets that are present during a move should be crated or otherwise contained to guard against accidents and opportunities for running away.
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Adjusting Kids to a New Home
Finding a new school for your child to attend is an inevitable part of moving. While your child can be anxious about leaving their routine and old friends behind, encourage a sense of adventure in them, and remind them of all the new experiences and people they will encounter in their new setting. You can also make the transition to a new school easier by consulting with future teachers and principals. Attending all orientations and personally introducing your child to their new educators can give educators the opportunity to know your little one, which can add to their comfort level.
Your child may also benefit from making friends before their first day at a new school so they can have companions to show them the educational ropes. Reach out to community youth programs. Be friendly with neighbors who have children at similar grade levels, and initiate play dates.
If your child expresses marked resistance to the move, and you find yourself feeling a little guilty, remind yourself about all the positive outcomes that can manifest from your decision. In addition, know that a move can teach children lessons about adaptability, resilience, courage and friendship – skills that will help them grow into a mature and capable adult.
- When Families Move: Helping Children Adjust
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- Understanding Children: Moving to a New Home (PDF)
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- Helping Kids Adjust to a New School
Tips For Your Pets
Your pet is a member of your family, as well, and special considerations for them will have to be taken when making a move. Pets, like children, can enjoy routines and experience a sense of safety from them. Think about allowing your pet to roam the interior and exterior of your new home, as a way to familiarize them with their new surroundings. Guided walks can be especially advantageous. Should your new home already have a pet living there, consider socializing the animals before you permanently move in. This can increase the chances that both pets will bond, and can reduce potential territorial issues. Find a new veterinarian as soon as possible for your pet to help ensure that they will have a place for care, if the need arises. Make sure that all registration and licenses are obtained, if you are moving to new counties, states or countries. If you plan on moving internationally, look up laws and regulations governing the special transport of animals, to ensure that your pet will arrive to your new home as soon as you do.
- Moving With Your Family Pets
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- Military OneSource’s Guide to Moving With Pets
- The City of Harrisonburg’s Moving Guide for Pets
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