Moving is hard; there's no way around it. To put it bluntly - it's utter mayhem. Adults fear it, the kids fear it, and not a soul is spared of anticipation and anxiety. The truth is, it's not just a house; it's home: our home, our memories, our past, everything. Waving the soothing familiarity goodbye takes a toll on us, whether we're willing to process the subliminal information or prefer to ignore the elephant in the room. Our space matters; that's a fact. As adults, we enjoy the benefit of understanding why the moving part is happening; we get to experience a thrill, a sense of joy when starting anew. Kids are different. You're pulling the rug from under their feet the very moment you approach them with a final decision. And it's only understandable. Let's dig a bit deeper. Here are six tips for helping your kids adapt after a move.
Why being present matters
It's not just the aftermath we need to worry about; the moving process requires us to be ever ready and present as parents. Why? Our kids rely on us; we are their superheroes. From a child's perspective, it's their parent's duty to always keep them safe from harm. You only get to be a kid once; trauma-free childhood (and the moving process is known for causing stress in youngsters) is something we should be able to provide as parents, as the lack of it may cause emotional damage if left unattended.
How to help your kids adapt after a move
Parental mindfulness is critical. Packing, relocating, sorting the boxes, adjusting to a new space, neighborhood, town, or even state - everything is chaos. With all the pending and ongoing turmoil, we can easily get disoriented and overwhelmed; even if the underlayer screams pure joy, we can't hear it. How do we help the little ones adjust to quantum leaps they have no control over?
See things from their perspective; better yet, ask yourself as an adult - do I enjoy earth-shattering surprises? How would I handle them? Open communication with loved ones is crucial for successful adaptation, no matter the change. We need a pair of velvet ears and a warm embrace on stand-by. Let them talk. And listen. Do not minorize their fears and concerns; they are as real to them as our daily pre-sleep rumination is to us. It's frightening. Offer them a healthy outlet by acknowledging and accepting their thoughts and feelings. If you're dealing with an adolescent (they're not really keen on talking, are they), encourage them to speak with their friends or a counselor.
2. Do a sneak peek
Who's up for a field trip? It's all about positive associations; they create a feel-good narrative and are an excellent tool for gradually accepting new stimuli. We all fear the unknown, so get your kids acquainted with their new neighborhood before the moving day. Make the field trip fun but also informative. Take them for a tour around your new property, stroll down your new neighborhood (preferably with a popsicle!), and finally organize a fun activity. Getting them excited about their future life is extremely important. Also, be mindful - our kids are like sponges; they tend to mimic our feelings. Big smile mode: ON. If you're enjoying it, they'll catch it. Your child learns through your behavior.
3. You've got the power, love
One of the best tips for helping your kids adapt after a move is to let them participate and call the shots. Surely, you will not hire your 10-year-old to be your interior designer but handing over a portion of the reins will mean the world to them. We all have an innate need for control when the comet of unexpectedness hits our orbit. Give it to them, no matter how small the shots. Let them pick the color for their new room. Maybe get that Labradoodle puppy you've been negotiating for two years now. Don't go overboard. Just humor them enough so they can have a sense of control over their beautiful, young lives.
4. The routine keeps it lean
Every child has a routine. Adults usually involuntarily frown upon being predictable; we've matured enough to thrive in erratic circumstances. Our kids need us to be predictable and somewhat boring. It's their only safety net, especially when their lives are being turned upside down. So, we re-introduce routine the moment we move into our new home (easy on adding changes and new stimuli!). Consistency is key - bath time, bedtime stories, snuggles, family dinner. Do your best, even if you haven't assembled your new dinner table yet, even if there's nothing but an air mattress. Affection and family time are what count.
5. Kids first
Everything else comes second. We want our children to feel safe in a new home. Empty rooms drowning in boxes and orchestrated chaos are stress enough for our little ones; their stuff gets unpacked first. Setting up their room is our primary and only imperative; everything else can and will wait. The easiest way to soothe your child is to recreate a familiar setting - their old bed, favorite toys, and night light waiting for them.
Choosing a residential moving company, you trust will ensure your Toronto relocation goes well. Make sure your movers know where to put each box. It will help you set up your kids' rooms first. When moving, the crew ensures a safe process in the city; you provide a safe environment in the new home.
6. Encourage staying in touch
Cutting off ties with friends, especially abruptly, can be traumatic for our kids. Encourage them to stay in touch in the early adapting stages, as it will make them feel less alone. Set up "zoom" calls, and inspire them to write letters (old school, I know). The more they adapt to their new social environment, the less they will feel the need to cling to old bonds. Still, keeping in touch with their old friends is essential for the transitioning phase. Nourish their social side by setting up a productive space for them.
Be patient; settling in takes time. Rushing the process will not make your child adapt any quicker or easier. Listening to their needs will suffice. We hope you enjoyed our tips for helping your kids adapt after a move. Good luck!