Moving homes is a big deal for big families, small families, and everyone in between. It signifies a new chapter in your family’s life, but it may not always be met with excitement and joy. Your house may be the only home your child has ever known, so it only makes sense that they may react unfavorably to the move. Here are some things you can do to help your child(ren) adapt to moving to a new home and a new environment.
Explain the process to them.
Why not explain to your child what goes into becoming a homeowner? It’s never too early to show them what’s included in the home buying process. If your child is old enough, you can even make it into a math lesson by explaining everything that goes into mortgage 101: combining you and your partner’s income together, figuring out the interest rate, the mortgage payment, getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan, determining your monthly payment, shopping, and putting money down for a down payment.
Relay all information your real estate agent told you — the amount of money you need for a monthly mortgage payment, how a credit score works in choosing your loan amount, and the different loan types. You can even go the extra step and invite your children to open houses with different sellers so they can have a say in what home you buy. This way, they’ll be prepared for a move and will even become excited that they have a vocal say in what goes on. The goal here is to make the child feel as if they are a home buyer in the making and to get them involved with the real estate process!
Visit schools beforehand.
If your move correlates with a new school district, especially in the middle of a school year, you’ll want to include your child in visiting schools before you make the final decision. They should have just as much of a say of the new school they are going in as you do, so make sure to visit a handful of schools in the area first. Whether they are public schools, charter schools, or a collaborative charter academy, explore all options.
Allow time to grieve.
It is more than okay to allow some specific time for your children to honor their grief and express their loss during the move. Actually, taking the time to do so will help them adjust to their new home with little to no problems. Some ideas that can help a child cope during this time is to :
- have a going away party with all their friends and classmates
- make a special book for all their friend’s addresses and contact information
- setting up a parent-supervised group on Facebook so the kids all have one place to stay in touch
- write goodbye and thank you for being my friend letters
- create a moving book of sentimental objects and pictures of you and your family in your old city
Keep up the family rituals.
Kids thrive when they are on schedules, so it is a good idea to make sure to keep up your family rituals and traditions even in your new home. Pretend as if it is just another day, even if you have an empty house. So for example, if your family always has tacos on Tuesdays and pizza on Fridays, follow this ritual to keep up a level of consistency that can be reassuring to your children. The same idea goes with toddlers and babies. Even on move-in day when life is hectic, make sure to stay consistent with nap time (if you can), bath time, and bedtime.
Meet new neighbors.
After you have been settled in for about a week, take a few hours out of your day to bake some goodies and go deliver them to your neighbors. Giving your kids a chance to meet your neighbors face to face can boost their mood, help them build connections, and may even get them a new neighborhood friend or two. And, you never know what kinds of goodies you’ll get in return!
With these tips in mind, your child will soon become acclimated to the idea of moving and will slowly but surely learn to love the new home you’re building together. If you involve them in the process, they may even enjoy being a home buyer with their family.