A child’s home is their world – the world they associate with family, love, routine, and safety. The phrase “we’re moving” threatens to rock that world for many children, leaving them feeling scared and uncertain of what’s to come. Both young and older children respond in different ways to the news that they’re packing up and moving to a new home. To help them adjust and embrace the idea, here are a few ways to talk to kids about moving.
It’s a difficult conversation to have, especially when you know that your children are happily settled into their routine and space. This is why some parents put off this conversation for as long as they can. At the same time, it’s important to remember that children need some time to process such a big change. Share the news as early as you can.
Use Age-Appropriate Language
Be clear, direct, and straightforward. Anticipate the questions that your child will ask you and be prepared with age-appropriate responses beforehand. Answer their questions honestly. If you are unsure of an answer, tell them that. Let them know that you want them to tell you how they feel, what they think, and what they expect will happen.
Focus on the Positives
There’s a positive aspect to every move, whether it means moving closer to family, exploring a new place, or taking advantage of a great opportunity. Spend time talking about the positive and exciting reasons for the move, before discussing how sad or difficult it may be.
Give Them Time and Space to Process
Children, like adults, need time to process big news. Let them know about your plans and then give them some time and space to think about it. Allow your child to be sad, to cry, or to feel angry. These “negative emotions” are part of the process and it’s important to acknowledge and validate their feelings. Sharing your own sadness around the move can help you connect with your child through this difficult time.
Involve Them in the Move
Help make your children feel involved in the decision to move. Show them pictures of their new neighborhood, home, or school. Talk to them about all of the exciting things that they have to look forward to. Open up the discussion between family members to make sure that everyone has a chance to voice their opinions.
Deck Out Their New Space
This is the fun part. Decorate your child’s new room with some familiar favorites, along with some keepsakes to help them feel a sense of comfort and familiarity right away. Then allow them to pick out something new and exciting to put their own touch on their space.