The following is a guest post by Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving
Summer is almost here and for families it’s the most popular time to move to a new home. In fact, nearly 40 million of us move in the summer and begin to plan in May.
But before you break out that moving checklist, think about your kids and how the moving process may affect them.
Moving is one of the most stressful times in life. It brings a lot of change, to do lists, financial concerns, and for your kids it means making new friends and maybe adjusting to a new school. The upside is that there are simple steps you can take to protect your kids from the shock of a move and make the move stress-free for them.
There are three elements to a successful move with kids to focus on before moving: timing, transition, and getting them involved.
Before moving day, consider timing, probably the most important element. Evaluate the grades your children are currently in. If your eldest is about to be a senior in high school it may be best to let them live with a relative to finish up their high school career with their friends. If your youngest is about to enter middle school this is an ideal time to move as they will be entering a new school either way.
Second, ease them into the transition into the new home. Here are my three tips to make the transition a smooth one:
1. Make the new home their own. Allow the kids to walk through the new house before the move. And, make them feel that they are part of the decision, by letting them choose their own bedroom, the paint colors, etc.
2. TALK to your kids. Ask them what they are excited about and what things they are going to miss.
3. Stay connected to friends, neighbors, and family back home. Arrange web cam time with the children’s friends before you move to the new home, it will help make the transition easier when they know they can keep in touch with their old friends. And, set up a play date for the old friends to come over for a sleep over.
Get Them Involved
In conjunction with the above tasks there is no easier way to keep kids happy than giving them a feeling of control – get them involved!
1. Have them arrange their own room. Draw out a floor plan of the rooms in the new house and let the children make paper doll furniture and arrange what they want in their room, while you arrange the other rooms.
2. Encourage your kids to pack themselves so that they are involved in the moving process. They can have their own boxes and suitcases that they are responsible for. Give them color codes or fun stickers to stick on the boxes that belong in their room. You can oversee this.
3. Give each child a backpack to fill with overnight items so that you don’t have to dig through boxes. Include their toothbrush, pjs, favorite stuffed animal, favorite bedtime story, etc.
4. Then give them one box to pack freely with the stuff they want, that will be the first box that they open in their new room/
5. Before you move out, sit down with your children with a map. Show them where the new house is and have them help you plan the trip out and then have them follow the map as you make your way to your new home.
Last, is the adjustment to the new home and neighborhood, probably the most important phase of a move as it sets the stage for your new life there. Here are my suggestions to make the adjustment a great one:
1. Host a party in your new neighborhood and invite children of the same age as your own kid(s) over so that they can make friends. It’s as easy as a pool party, pizza party, or cookout. Try and host the party the first weeks of being in your new home.
2. Take them for a drive by their new school, the local ice cream place, playground, if they have a hobby such as dancing, show them that there is a dance studio here too, so that they see their new neighborhood has all the same things as the old.
3. Set up a tour of the new school and to meet their new teacher before school starts.
4. If you move in the beginning of the summer, sign the little ones up for camp or other local activities where they can meet the new kids before school starts. It also keeps them out of the house so you can continue the unpacking!
My final bit of advice for you – if you are planning on getting rid of items the children no longer use, do not do it during moving time. Otherwise the children will experience loss, this is not the right time to weed out their things, wait until you are settled in at the new home. Or do the weeding out months before the move so they don’t associate the two events.
For more and tips on how to keep the kids entertained on move day visit www.northstarmoving.com/moving-with-kids.
Wishing you and your family happiness in your new home!
Laura McHolm is the co-founder of NorthStar Moving, a storage and organization expert and regular contributor to the Huffington Post.