I recently discovered that there are five things deemed most stressful in life. The topic came up in a recent conversation and I was shocked to learn from a quick Google search that moving ranks as the third most stressful life event. I think people are moving more than ever now, whether it’s due to cost of living, job opportunities, etc. We have moved more than a few times. Some moves have been by choice, some for my husband’s job, and some out of state.
As life would have it, we found ourselves listing our house in this crazy market a few months ago.
Moving with kids is definitely a game changer. One of my sons does not handle change well; even small changes can throw him for a loop. Here are a few things we have learned as we try to make all the transitions as smooth as possible for our family:
We set their rooms up first.
We do whatever it takes to make their first night in the new place as normal as possible. I encouraged them to pack whatever they wanted in their little suitcases to bring with them. It gave them some ownership and it was fun to see what they chose to pack. I always remember to grab their favorite blankets and sound machines as well.
Give them plenty of notice.
With our kids we’ve learned that the more information we give them, the better. The most important thing you can do to make everyone’s life easier is to tell your kids way in advance what’s going to happen. You never know what kind of reaction they’re going to have, so it’s best to prepare yourself for an adjustment period. Answer any and all questions they have and acknowledge their feelings as they process the change.
Get them involved.
A great way to get children excited about a move is to get them involved in every step of the way in a way that’s age-appropriate. We are allowing them to help make a few of the renovation choices such as paint colors for their new rooms. We drive through our new neighborhood quite often and discuss how exciting it will be when we can finally move in.
Our family is in this together.
During some of the harder moments of tears and questions with the kids, we tried our best to explain that even though parts of this have felt hard, our family is in this together and that won’t ever change. Reading has always helped my kids better understand things as well. So I bought a book on moving that shed a positive light on how this is a fun family adventure and we’ll all be better for it. (Shout out to Berenstain Bears!)
This time, I have actually taken up offers from friends. I have not always been good at reaching out or accepting offers of help. I have had sweet friends bring us dinner on our first night in the apartment, offer playdates for my boys on moving day, and have used our sitter a bit more than usual. Also, at this age and stage in our life, we splurged on a few more conveniences than we ever previously had such as using PODS and renting a furnished apartment for the transitional time period. Both of these things have alleviated so much stress.
Above all, not only is it difficult for your children to understand the concept of moving, but there’s also a considerable amount of stress on you to make sure it all gets done. From the packing and unpacking to making sure that the utilities, etc. get transferred, there’s a lot to handle at once! Discuss the things that you’re looking forward to. Address any concerns and remember that excitement is contagious. The less your kids see you stress and the happier that they see that you are about the move, the more likely that they are to mimic your behavior!
We feel really grateful that this will be the house we raise our boys in and (fingers crossed) our moving days will be over for a long time. I often tell myself that my kids will never be this age again. Even though this is not the ideal summer I imagined with my kids before baby #3 arrives, this helps me keep perspective and I am determined to make the best of things and enjoy this summer to the fullest!