Moving Jitters: Helping Kids Adjust To A New Home


Moving Jitters: Helping Kids Adjust To A New HomeAs a young mom to four boys under five, I feel like I am always on my toes. I am always adjusting, learning ways to be a better mom, and going through new experiences. Just when I think, “Okay, I am starting to figure this out,” life throws a curveball that brings me back to the reality that every day I am learning something new in this motherhood journey.

Recently, one of those curveballs was our family moving to a new house. I thought my oldest would be excited as we’ve been cramped in a three bedroom apartment for the last two years while searching for a bigger home with a yard. When my husband and I got the final confirmation that we were getting the keys, we couldn’t wait to share the news with the boys.

I never expected the reaction we got from the boys.

Instead of joy over the big yard, sidewalks for bike rides, and a playroom for their toys, we were met with tears from my oldest. I underestimated how a change like moving (even five minutes down the road), would scare him. I soon realized that this was the first move where he understood what was going on. He was worried, and I had to think quickly about how to help him through the process.

Tips For Calming Moving Nerves

Talking Through Play

While working through my children’s emotions with them, I have learned that children do not talk through their emotions like adults do. This concept may seem simple for some, but for those like me (who like to talk through everything), it’s important to slow down. I had to learn that my five-year-old is not going to sit on the couch and open up to me. Rather, he is going to let me know how he is feeling through play.

I quickly realized that his “Pokémon not liking the new house,” his “Tobots thinking his new room was scary,” and his “tablet not having a charge station,” were ways of my son saying that he was not ready to move and that he was scared of the new changes.

So, I adjusted the conversation. I began to talk to him on his level through play. I changed the conversation from “What would make your room less scary?” to “What can we do to make your Tobots less scared in the new room?” This opened up all the conversation. He is still learning to convey his emotions, but talking this way helped him open up and make the move a little less scary.

Let Them Help

Toddlers love to be helpers. My boys love to feel like they have a big part in family decisions (as they should). So, when we went to tackle the moving, I let them help in ways that they could, like packing their toys in boxes, helping unpack in their new rooms and participating in decorating decisions. Each decision and task they got to help with made them more comfortable with the move.

Getting Back To Routines

During moving chaos, it is so easy to get out of one’s normal routine. As the parent, you are trying to get everything unpacked, find all the things, and establish some semblance of normalcy for your own sanity and your family’s. But I found that getting back to the kids’ normal routine was the most important thing I could have done as it establishes security for them. When everything is still out of place and in boxes waiting to be unpacked, getting back to family dinners, bedtime routines, and family fun nights had a huge impact in making the boys feel less nervous about the home change. My biggest takeaway from the move is to get essentials unpacked first and to get back to normal family routines as soon as possible. Then, the rest can be worked out and unpacked along the way.

Don’t Forget To Have Fun

Moving is stressful. I do not care if it is your first move or your tenth. It works the nerves, and the extra stress is easy to let out on those around you if you are not careful. So, in the middle of the chaos, even when it is hard, don’t forget to take breaks to have fun with the family. Get out and walk with the kids in the new neighborhood. Say hi to your new neighbors as you are out and about. Keep the seasonal traditions even in the middle of moving. Trust me; you need it as much as your kids do.

I caught myself being super stressed and tense one Saturday during our move. Boxes seemed to be coming out of the woodwork, I felt like I could get nothing done, and the boys needed me every second. I felt like I was about to explode because I just do not function well when my house is in chaos. I am not one of those moms that can “just let the dishes and laundry sit.” But that day, I just stopped. I let it go. I turned on the ball game, sang “Rocky Top” as loudly as I could with the boys, started an impromptu football game in our living room, and just laughed. It was the best medicine. So, in the chaos, don’t forget to have fun. You and your kids will thank you for it.

We love calling the Chattanooga area home, and I can finally say we are all enjoying our new home as the moving jitters have gone away.

Overall, moving can be stressful for the entire family. I hope the tips I’ve shared help your family as you tackle a move.