It’s hard for anyone to say goodbye to their home, even when it’s a positive change. But it can be especially tough on children. Whether you’re relocating across town or an entirely different state, there’s much you can do to prepare kids to move and the challenges ahead.

Here are 5 tips to help minimize the stress of relocating your family, and especially the kids.

Prepare Your Kids Ahead of Time

Before you start packing, talk to them about the move, what it will be like, and the challenges. It’s much easier to deal with a stressful situation when they know what to expect. Dr. Jamie Howard, director of the Stress and Resilience Program at Child Mind, says, “It’s much easier to deal with something that’s expected than it is to be shocked and unprepared for a stressor. Be open and communicate with your kids about the move. Let them ask questions. 

Be Positive & Upbeat

Kids look to their parents for emotional cues. If you seem upset or stressed, they will likely feel that way too. Keep your attitude positive and upbeat. Encourage them to see the good things about their new area. If they’re scared, confused, or missing their old home, let them know it’s okay to feel that way. 

Let Them Be Upset

Moving is a loss to many children. Honor their grief. Remember, they are leaving their home, familiar places, friends, and school. Understand that they’re grieving and let them make their way through the grief stages without forcing them to be cheerful about it.

Help Them Visualize Their New Life

Prepare your kids for their new life. If you’re close enough, take them to visit the new neighborhood, schools, and city. If you’re moving out of state, how about an online virtual tour? Find places they will love to visit and talk about how much fun it will be when you can go. It’ll help moving day feel less frightening.

Establish a Routine

There may be quite a bit of unpacking and settling in to do, but it’s important to establish regular routines, such as mealtime and bedtime, as soon as possible. Younger kids especially thrive with routines and predictability.

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