While packing up your belongings and heading across the country might appeal to your adult sense of adventure, it can give children a sense of anxiety. Saying goodbye to the comfort of their home, relationships with friends and neighbors, and familiar school environments can be challenging. Fortunately, there are several tactics you can use to help ease the adjustment for your kids, allowing them to focus on the best of what your new locale has to offer.
Remember Comforts from Home
While your kids might have to say goodbye to their cozy bedroom, they don’t have to give up their belongings. It’s tempting to purge items you view as clutter when you’re packing and want to start fresh in your new home, but don’t eliminate too many of your kids’ belongings. A favorite toy, the quilt your son has slept on every night for the last five years, or a treasured photo of your daughter and her best friend can be the perfect items to make your new home feel familiar. When you’re getting settled into your new home, set up your kids’ rooms first so that they have a spot to hang out in and call their own.
Reach Out to the New School
Starting at a new school is nerve-wracking for even the most outgoing child. Ease your kids’ worries by familiarizing them with the school before their first day. Schedule a school tour so that your kids can check out their new classrooms before they are full of students. Let younger children meet the teachers and high-school kids find their lockers and review their class schedules. A little familiarity with the new school can help calm nerves as their first day approaches.
Tour the Neighborhood
Getting a lay of the land is a great way to feel settled in a new environment. Driving the family around the neighborhood to see local grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses can instill a sense of continuity and familiarity. Plus, you’ll know where to order dinner while your new kitchen is in disarray.
Find Interesting Activities
For kids, making new friends can be one of the toughest parts of a cross-country move. Encourage your kids to build relationships with like-minded peers. Enroll your kids in their favorite activities in your new town. Whether your daughter is a soccer star or your son loves theater, you can find suitable activities that can help your kids settle into your new area and make new friends. Try to keep your kids from dwelling on what they’re missing back home by exposing them to all of the fun activities your new city has to offer.
Moving can be overwhelming for family members of all ages. Stick together, establish a routine, and have patience – in no time everyone will adapt to the family’s new life.