The Low-Stress Guide to Making the Right Move for Your Family
Some of us naturally handle change better than others, but moving to a new home is always a big change that can be both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. When you’re moving with children, these emotions may be magnified, for kids and adults alike. The key to making a smooth move is giving the whole process plenty of time and patience, while focusing on how kids are feeling and helping them through the change.
Starting Your Home Search
If you’re new to the region, it may take a little research to find the best home prices and neighborhoods. For example, if you are looking to move to the Greater Atlanta Area, the average sales price for a home in Dunwoody (one of their mid to upper class neighborhoods) is $423,000. Before researching neighborhoods, HGTV recommends asking yourself a few questions about what’s most important to you. Think about things that will affect your kids, such as school systems and neighborhood parks, as well as what you like and don’t like about your current community. Then, focus in on neighborhoods that meet your requirements.
Planning is Key
When you find the right house, having a plan for your move is essential to lowering everyone’s stress. Use a checklist with a timeline for what needs to be done, and include a plan for where everything will go in the new house. Use your moving plan to make sure everything is packed in an organized way and labeled. Some families like to use colored or patterned tape so that boxes can be color coded for each person or room of the house where they belong.
Make Sure You Have Time and Help
From packing ahead of time to moving day and unpacking, you want to allow plenty of time. Being up against a deadline would only heighten everyone’s stress level, and you need enough time to plan and organize properly. Take time off work if you can, and have a babysitter watch the kids (hiring a babysitter costs an average of just under $14/hr in Georgia) while you do the bulk of the packing. If you have small children around while packing, you can also turn it into a game to get them involved.
Don’t try to do everything on your own, though. Whether you hire movers or enlist friends, having a helping hand will make a huge difference. Your overall goal when moving with kids is to help them handle it well. Kids will sense and feed off of your stress level, so giving yourself the time and help needed to reduce stress is crucial.
Helping Kids Cope With the Change
Even with the best planning, moving can be upsetting to children. Try these strategies to help ease the transition.
Introduce kids to the new home ahead of time. Take them to see the house, and help them picture all the fun they will have once you move in. The Spruce recommends talking about ideas to decorate their new room and where they want to put their favorite toys.
Talk about the move early, and listen to how they feel. You may worry that asking about how they’re feeling will bring out negativity, but they need to be able to express their emotions about the move. Whatever their feelings are, kids need to process them and feel like they’re heard.
Set up kids’ rooms first. As soon as you get to your new home, prioritize setting up the kids’ rooms. You can’t do everything at once, but getting out a few of their favorite items, cozy blankets, and familiar furniture pieces will help them feel at home.
Create special mementos. Help kids make a moving book, starting with pictures of your old home, and encourage them to draw and write about what they’re looking forward to doing in the new home. You might also create a special memento at your old home that you bring with you to bridge old memories with new experiences.
Moving with kids can feel scary, but it’s also an opportunity for growth. Change is a normal part of life, and this is a chance to help kids see the good that can come from change. Careful planning will help keep stress in check so you can all focus on the positive adventures ahead.
About the Author: Daniel Sherwin created DadSolo to provide other dads with resources that will help them better equip themselves on single parenthood. He is currently living with his two kids: a 9 y/o daughter and 6 y/o son.
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