MOVING, OUT AND IN
> PLANNING THE MOVE:
Planning a move and moving with children is a
bigger challenge than carrying out a house-moving plan on your own or with other
adults. Not only are there perhaps special considerations while traveling
between houses, if it's a distance, but the upset to children's lives is likely
to be more than to your own.
See if there is anything on this list that you
haven't thought about...
- Preparing the way: Be sure to
talk about the move with even young children, telling them why it's
important for you to go... but also stress that it's a new adventure that
will have benefits for everyone. Assure them that they needn't lose
track of neighborhood and school friends because of the change in
addresses. Find out what you can about your kids' new school/s and
teacher/s, if any, before arriving (and if possible, drive to the school and
even introduce your child to his or her new teacher beforehand). If
it's feasible, let your children participate in the house-hunting and in
exploring your new environs (at a minimum, take your camera along and use it
lavishly for their sakes).
- When to go: If your kids are
still in grade school, and you have an option in timing of your move, you
might want to discuss the choices with them... Moving during the
summer break may seem convenient - but unless you go at the end of their
break, it will mean their giving up time with their friends and then
arriving in a new place at a time when it's hard to make new ones.
Though a child might dread walking into a new classroom in the middle of the
session, it's a ready-make social set, and s/he might make friends more
readily being the new interest for the whole class. (Little enough
will be in your child's control during your move - the more choices they're
allowed to participate in, the better!)
- Keep them involved and communicating:
Check in with the kids from time to time about any worries they may have
about the move. Ensure that they get to say goodbye to the people who
are important to them locally. Get them involved in weeding out their
own possessions, planning what their new room will look like, and
pre-packing some boxes of their own stuff. If you're going to have a
yard sale, get them involved in that, and turn it into a party.
Your kids will want to select some items to have handy on the trip and for
the first few days after arrival at the new house (e.g., toys, music, games,
books to read, perhaps food treats, and the like, as well as what they'll
wear). If they're beyond infancy, assign them one or more tasks to
take care of during the move (for instance, even a toddler can watch out for
the dog, or bring others water to drink during the moving-in process).
Be understanding of extra emotionality during this process. (Remember
how you felt, if you had to move during your childhood? I sure do! -
five times, in fact.) Try to keep up your family meals, and even
outings, despite the pressure to get ready to leave.
- During the move: Decide ahead of
time whether or not you'll want your kids intimately involved in
packing/loading on moving day or whether they'd be happier on a last
excursion with friends while that particular stress is going on.
I don't know about you, but family singing en route to anywhere really
helped me cope as a child. Moving day is never easy... and
surely some reward will be deserved by everybody! - plan it ahead so
everyone can look forward to it. (What about having pizza delivered
and eating it in your pajamas... while trying to think of the funniest
things that happened that day? And/or perhaps everyone gets to go
shopping for a new outfit before their wardrobes are unpacked?)
- In the aftermath: Be sure that
the kids know your new address and phone number at the earliest opportunity
- and how to make emergency calls, if different from your previous
home. Go exploring in your new environs - including the schools, the
library (introduce them to the children's librarian), the police and fire
stations, the park/s and community pool, and any other facilities of
particular interest to your kids. Look for fun things to do and
unusual things to remark upon in the neighborhood. Try to find out
where the kids could go to meet others with similar interests, other than
school. Place more emphasis on delving into the new area than on
unpacking everything right away.
Talk about everybody's new concerns (school, work, pet insecurities, perhaps
grief over losses, etc.) - let the kids know that they aren't the only ones
experiencing temporary anxieties or insecurities. Talk about your
dreams? Inquire about
insomnia or nightmares - it helps to talk about these troubles. It may
take awhile for a child to adjust to a new home if there's been a change in
schools; remember that this is big. If you have teenagers, it's
probably especially important for them to be able to continue to communicate
with their old friends - but younger children might need to be given some
impetus to get in touch with those they've left behind.
Meanwhile, get everybody involved to some degree in organizing and
decorating the new house. ...And perhaps participating in the planning of
how to utilize the money saved in downsizing?