Moms and Dads, this is directed at you. As parents ourselves, it is surprising we haven’t brought this up before. Ah well, better late than never! Kids get very nervous when big change is on the horizon. This happens when a new sibling is on the way, it is the first day of school, a stock market trend keeps spiraling downward, or when moving to a new location. If you are moving away away, then they become even more nervous, because that means new friends, a new school district as well as a new house.
Often enough we have been on the job and seen what happens first hand with kids who watch as we pack up their house. They are stressed because their most prized possessions are being packed away, their room no longer looks like their room, and their house no longer feels safe. Not only that, but you are obviously running around like a chicken with your head cut off and the last thing you need is for your kids to start freaking out. So, take some necessary steps to minimize what is scaring your kids.
One of the greatest things you can do before moving day is to give your kiddos a box (not one to share, but one for each of them). Write “special” or “top secret” on the side of the box with their name on it so everyone knows whose box it is. Then, tell them they they need to put their most prized possessions in the box. We recommend not limiting their imagination. Besides, it’s always funnier to see what the outcome of vague instructions like these will be. Once they have done that, go through their boxes with them. Know what they have put in the box. Seriously, you want to go through the box for rather obvious reasons. Make sure though, when you go through the box to talk to them about their choices. Be encouraging, even if what they put in the box is their bug collection or pretty, pretty prince crowns. Leave them in charge of their very special boxes, and make sure the movers pack those couple small boxes last. (Don’t give them more than one or one that is oversized, that’ll get out of hand quickly. Also, if they have a boulder collection, we leave that in your very capable hands.)
During this process, really talk about what home means. Things in a box are taken a lot of times because they have memories attached to them. Talk about those memories and tell them that those memories are travelling with you to wherever you are going next. It may sound corny, but focus on the idea that it is what you are taking with you that constitutes a home, not the house itself. (Also, remember to make it clear that the people going with you are the most integral part of home. I know that seems silly to say out loud, but some folks get distracted during this time and forget to instill that kind of reassurance). Come moving day, the kiddos may be nervous, but they know without a doubt that whatever is happening, they are not forgotten and neither is what they treasure the most.
You may be asking, how are these guys really qualified to be telling me this? Well, as we said. We move families every day, and we are paying attention. We have kids ourselves. Trust us on this one. Also, if you have any other great ideas about helping your kids have a smoother moving day, we are all ears and cowbells!