As adults, settling down comes as a part of life. Laying down roots in a particular city or state allows us to start a family or new job. It allows us to start an entirely new chapter of life. But sadly, sometimes, that chapter has to end. Moving has become an inevitable part of the modern American experience. Whether it is to the next town or across the country, moving is never easy.
Moving across state lines presents unique challenges in itself. Apart from navigating the distance, interstate moving also puts unwanted pressure on your family and, more importantly, your children. They may even meet this decision with untoward aggression. After all, who wants to leave their friends behind? This is why it is important to prepare your kids for the big move.
Packing your things up in multiple boxes is hard enough, so allow us to help you with your kids. Here are some tips you can use when preparing your children for an interstate move.
Keep Them Involved
It is very important to keep your children included in the moving process. Take time to sit down with them and tell them about the move. Give them ample time to process their feelings and take into account the difficulties they’ll encounter along the way. Tell them how the move will benefit the family, and keep them involved in the process by allowing them to help with the preparations for this new chapter in their life.
If your children have accumulated a lot of things, have them sort through it in piles: one for keeping, one for donating, and one for throwing away. This will allow them to prioritize the things they will need as they pack up their belongings.
If your kids are on the younger side, turn packing into a game or a scavenger hunt. This not only makes the arduous chore of packing fun, but also helps your kids do it more efficiently.
Furthermore, you can also have your children make decisions (like pit stops to take or bedrooms in the new home) while you’re on your way to your new home. This gives them agency in this endeavor and allows them to be a part of the decision.
Teach Them to Say Goodbye
With every move come the inevitable goodbyes. Your children have made friends and connections with people in the community you are leaving. It is important that you help them acknowledge the grief of leaving their friends behind. Plan a gathering for your kid’s friends and allow them to socialize and bond one last time.
The wonders of the digital age also mean that nobody truly says goodbye. Help them keep in touch by organizing video calls for them every so often. This allows your children to keep in touch with their old friends despite the physical distance between them.
If your child is going to miss a particular place, why not give that place one last visit? Do they have a favorite park? Do they like a particular part of the neighborhood you’re leaving? Now is the perfect chance to give that place a visit. Let them play or hang out one last time in their happy place so that they can leave having good memories of it.
Whether through a “going away party” or one last meal at their favorite local restaurant, it is important that kids learn how to say goodbye.
Keep the Good Times Rolling
Just because you are leaving one place, does not mean you have to discard old traditions. If you have a weekly family game night or if you eat meals at scheduled times, it’s best to continue to do that once you’ve settled in your new home. This will help your children establish a routine and get them adjusted to their new surroundings.
It is also important to help them establish new traditions. Help them socialize and be involved in their new school or community. If your child plays a sport, find out if their new school offers it. If they are more on the artistic side, enroll them in local art classes.
Allow them to explore the town or city you and your family are moving to so that they can get the lay of the land themselves. Show them the local park or mall or city center so that they know that this new place they moved to isn’t that different from their old one. Getting them back to doing the things they love is the best way to get them adjusted to the new environment.
Remember that while the move may be beneficial for the entire family, your kids may not know that. And while they may not be able to decide where to live, you children are still part of the move. Therefore, it is important to give them the time and space to process the information. Once you’ve given them time and allowed them to participate in the process, you can be assured of an easier, more relaxed move.