Six Insights from Moving With Kids
After months of living in different cities, long distance commuting, having our house on and off the market, it was finally moving day. Then the moving truck didn’t show up.
To say we were stressed would be a huge understatement. We were beside ourselves wondering, “How could this happen?” Three days later when the truck still had not arrived, the new owners had closed on our house, and we were still waiting, the stress level had reached epic proportions. Our family had never experienced anything like it.
They say moving, after death and divorce, is one of the most stressful milestones in life. Add in managing the complicated day-to-day of your family while changing households, and you have a ticking time bomb of stress, competing priorities, and unrealistic expectations.
How do you make sure your children get what they need during your transition?
Here are six things we’ve learned moving with kids:
1. Kids don’t want to move.
When you break the news to your kids that you will be moving to a new home, expect to meet resistance. Even the idea of not sharing a room or a potential swimming pool couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. Moving is a big change and it might initially leave your child feeling a little untethered. They will be thinking about everything they will lose and have a hard time seeing what can be gained. In our experience, it didn’t take long for them to come around even though there were tears at first.
2. Kids can pack too.
We were surprised at the amount of work our sons (ages six and seven at the time) would take on when it came to packing up our home. They toted, assembled, taped (with help), and labeled boxes. They boxed books, linens, clothes, games and other unbreakable items. They helped sort their own things, what they wanted to bring, and what they wanted to leave behind. They came up with a solution for packing their most prized possessions: highly-breakable, assembled Lego sets. They couldn’t do it for hours on end. But they were willing and able to help more than I would have expected.3. Protect them from stress.Not every conversation can be kept private during such a busy time, but we did make an effort to keep all moving conversations that we had in front of kids upbeat and positive. We talked about how our move would be “our biggest adventure yet” while discussing what would and what would not change. We made every effort not to lose it near them or on them. We weren’t always successful, but we tried.
3. Protect them from stress.
Not every conversation can be kept private during such a busy time, but we did make an effort to keep all moving conversations that we had in front of kids upbeat and positive. We talked about how our move would be “our biggest adventure yet” while discussing what would and what would not change. We made every effort not to lose it near them or on them. We weren’t always successful, but we tried.
4. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Our sons’ number one concern when moving to a new home was losing their friends. Because we didn’t want to make any promises that we couldn’t keep, we emphasized that if they wanted to keep in touch they could. Once we were settled in our new home, they were too absorbed in their new life to look back much and efforts to reach out to old friends fizzled out pretty fast.
5. Happy parents, happy kids.
As much as we wanted to take into consideration our kids wants and needs, at the end of the day we designed our move around what worked best for us, the parents. Our life in our new home was different for a reason and we shared those differences with them: a shorter commute for Dad means more time with you, more walking meant less time in the car for everyone. We were optimistic that our kids would follow our lead, and they did.
6. You can conquer the fear of the unknown.
We were scared and unsure, but we wanted to show our kids that sometimes you have to be brave and make hard choices. Sometimes you have to do things that aren’t easy to get what you want. And sometimes that can be really scary. We faced our fears and insecurities so that we could model resilience for our kids.
There are dozens of moving check lists out there, but sometimes you need more than a check list.
With Good Move, you can mindfully design a move for your family that overcomes the uncertainty, the overwhelm, and the unfamiliar that moving brings. You get:
Strategy for designing a move that works for your family
The real experiences of families that have relocated
Practical insight into the physical and emotional transitions you’re facing
The assurance that you’re well-informed and prepared
Good Move is available in paperback and ebook at…
When Kaly doesn’t have her nose in a book, she wrangles and referees two elementary age boys and blogs about her humorous efforts to lead a mindful, connected life. She’s the author of Good Move: Strategy and Advice for Your Family’s Relocation, a book about the craziness of moving with kids. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Mamalode, The Mid, In The Powder Room, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Scary Mommy to name a few. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.