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Helping Your Kids Adjust to a New Home

07 Jul 2017

Moving can be exciting, but it can also be scary and overwhelming for small children.

The most intimidating part about moving with children is the unknown of how they will react to the news and cope with the change. At Bradley Homes, we understand that moving your family and your life can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve collected some helpful tips on how to make both yours, and your children’s transition into a new home easier. 

Allow For Grief & Nostalgia 

While it’s important to keep the positive vibes flowing, it’s also important to allow your child to be upset and nostalgic when they learn about your decision to move. If this is a first move for your child, they may feel feelings of grief, anger, and feel like they’re leaving a big part of their life behind. They may also be leaving friends they’ve grown up with, or the school they’ve always attended, adding to their distress. These are understandable feelings that need to be validated. 

A young boy helps holds a box, helping his parents unpack their new home.

Encourage your children to let their feelings out, articulating the things they will miss, and offer compromises and ideas of how the transition will be easier than they expect. Also, allow for nostalgia – go through the family photo album’s as you pack, talk about the fuzzy bunny they loved as a toddler, pack their artwork, and explain to your child that these things will be coming to the new house too. Also offer the idea that new and even better memories will be made at the new house

Involve Your Child In The Packing Process

Children are less likely to get upset when they’re busy and distracted. Giving some responsibility to your child, in the form of small tasks, will help them to feel important and involved in the process. One example would be to ask them to sort their toys and decide what they want to keep and what they want to sell in a garage sale – dividing the two groups into piles. Taking this one step further, you could task your child with deciding how to set up their items at the garage sale, and allow them to keep the money they make to buy new things for their new room. Keeping your child involved makes them feel included and helps to ensure them that their role in helping with the move is appreciated.

Get Excited, Together

If your child starts to warm up to the idea of a garage sale, or to picking out new things for their room, capitalize on their budding excitement. By articulating your enthusiasm towards the move, your child will naturally want to follow suit. Plan a fun day where you go out as a family to start collecting design ideas, paint swatches, and maybe even a few throw pillows for their room. Never forget – kids love new stuff! Be sure to also remind them of the new friends they’re likely to meet in the neighbourhood surrounding their new home! Discuss bike riding, street hockey, playing in the park – whatever activity suits your child’s interests. By painting images of fun activities in their mind, you’ll help to boost their moving morale. 

Maintain Familiar Routines

In periods of change, it’s important to maintain as many familiar family routines as possible. If your children are use to having homemade pizza night every Friday, attempt to continue this tradition. Or, if you frequently would go for family walks to the park, find a new park and allow your child to discover that new area. ‘Play’ plays a critical role in allowing a child to adapt and become comfortable to shifts in their daily lives.

Give Your Child Some Creative Freedom 

It’s going to take your child some time to adjust, whether they’re excited about the move or not. One of your child’s biggest concerns is likely to be that their new house doesn’t feel like their old one – in other words, that the new house doesn’t yet feel like a home. 

You can help with this by allowing your child to have some creative freedom on how they’d like to set up their furniture, what they’d like to put up on their walls, how they think you should organize the new playroom, and beyond. 

A family sits on the floor of their new home and unpacks

This can be as simple as unpacking all of their stuffed animals, or as complex as painting their bedroom the exact same colour it was in the old house. Either way, give your child some say in what would make them feel more comfortable in their new environment. 

At the end of the day, the decision to move homes can be both challenging and exciting at the same time. Whether they are excited with you or fighting the change, the most important thing is to remind your child how much you love and are there for them. By including your child in the process, and offering encouragement along the way, they are more likely to look back on the move with fond memories and be open up to making new ones.