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Be Sensative to Kids Through the Move

Moving With Kids

Moving can be a stressful time for everyone and children often suffer more than adults do. For children, their homes and neighborhoods may represent everything they've ever known. Even though there are many plans to make, it's important to take the feelings of your children into consideration and involve them in the move to make your relocation a successful and happy one.

Break the News Early

It's a good idea to sit down with your children as soon as possible. Call a family meeting to discuss moving to a new city or state. Do your homework so you can come prepared with some encouraging information. Maybe your new town is home to a big league ball team or ballet company, or is close to a theme park or the ocean. Play up the positives to help your children see the move as an exciting adventure.

Listen to Their Concerns

Children react better to change when they feel that they play an active, rather than a passive role in the family's choices. Make sure your children understand that their opinions count and that you expect them to contribute to the move. If possible, take them with you to look at potential homes and promise to consider their views when you make your decision. Let them pick the colors and themes for their new rooms.

Consider Their Ages

The age of your children will necessarily affect the way you approach your move. Babies and toddlers are unlikely to be adversely affected, while preschoolers and kindergartners may mourn the loss of a beloved teacher or babysitter. Adolescents and teenagers will worry about leaving their circle of friends. If your child is close to graduation or another milestone, consider postponing the move until after it occurs.

Get the Kids Involved

Moving is a lot of work. Even young children can help sort their possessions and pack clothing or toys. If you're planning to have a yard sale before you move, make a group decision to spend the proceeds on a trip or other treat. Letting the children keep any money they earn from the sale of their own belongings can help them let go of outgrown books and toys.

Take a Practice Run

If it's feasible, spend a weekend in your new city. Stay in a hotel and make it a mini vacation. While you're there, see the local sights and familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood. Make appointments to meet with your children's teachers and tour their new schools. Find and visit the local library, movie theater, shopping center and park.

Say Goodbye and Start Anew

Throw a party and invite your family, friends and neighbors. Take pictures and give your children an address book to record contact information. Make plans to stay in touch and arrange for future reunions. Once you've moved in, take a break from unpacking to introduce yourself and your children to your new neighbors. Getting the kids involved in sports, dance or other familiar activities quickly will ease the sting of being the new kid in town. Chances are your children will settle happily in their new home. Keep an eye out for changes in appetite, sleeping patterns, failing grades or other signs of lingering sadness and consult with your pediatrician if you have concerns.