Tuesday, November 25, 2014 / by Jen Koenig
Whether you're moving across the country or just across the street, relocating your family is a significant life event. Children tend not to understand the importance of "Mommy's job transferred her" or "we're ready for a bigger house." Keeping a move stress-free and positive for a child can be a challenge. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help you in this endeavor.
I've lived in 9 different states, and I will never forget the first time we moved (well, the first time we moved when I was old enough to remember). We were moving from the home we'd had for 10 years in New Hampshire to a suburb in Illinois. My parents broke the news in our favorite Mexican restaurant, and I remember my sister and I trying to eat our tacos while tears streamed down our faces. In our minds, there had never been a greater tragedy.
Thankfully my parents knew how to make things easier for us. They told us a couple of months in advance so we'd have time to let our friends know and start to come to terms with it. They flew us out to Illinois with them to look at homes. Instead of just dragging us around while they shopped, my parents kept us involved every step of the way. They asked us our opinions on different homes and had us rank our top choices. On homes that we revisited, they asked us which rooms we'd like and how we'd like to arrange them. They provided us with information about extracurricular activities at the school we'd be going to, and had us read about community events and opportunities in the local paper. By the end, while I was still nervous about going to a new school and making new friends, I was definitely excited about the new life ahead of me in our new home.
Now that I'm older, I am incredibly grateful for that first move. Because of the way my parents handled it, I began to see moving as an exciting opportunity instead of a life-ending tragedy. Before entering the world of real estate, I worked for an international fundraising organization. Over the years I worked at 5 of the company's offices in 4 different cities. Because I was so comfortable relocating, I was able to move up quickly and spread different ideas and techniques from one office to the next. And while I'm happy I've settled down now in Madison, it's comforting to know that, no matter where I go, with a bit of research and a positive attitude a good life can be found.
Here's a great article with some more ideas to help your children get excited about a move:
"Show the child as much as you can about the new home. When you show your child their room, bath, and play area, make a game of it by asking where certain favorite toys or furniture should go. Have fun by showing your child the new house plans, or draw them yourself and let your child cut out furniture and toys to place in the rooms. Show your child a typical day in the home as you go from room to room."