We’re moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn this weekend, and I’m trying to figure out how to help the boys with the transition. We went to the library to read this book, and I’ve reassured Toby that his toys will be coming with us. But what else? Any advice? Here are a few tips I’ve heard…
1. Be confident about the move. “The first step to any change is a parent’s conviction…If we (our child’s leaders) are tentative, uneasy or uncertain, it is much more difficult for the child to transition comfortably. Children can ‘read’ us a mile away.” –Janet Lansbury (whom I adore, by the way!)
2. Explain the move beforehand. You can act out the move with a toy truck or to read a book about moving. Assure your child that all of your furniture and toys are coming with you. List all the things that will stay consistent, such as their friends, family and babysitter.
3. Stick to your routines. “Children under 8 are less attached to people, such as friends, but very attached to places and routines. For this reason, it’s important to stick to regular schedules as much as possible before, during and after the move.” —Scholastic
4. Give your child a box so he can pack his own toys. —my friend Gemma
5. “’Some children may feel guilty about leaving their house behind, as if they might be hurting its feelings,’ explains Kimberly Daniels, a Connecticut elementary school guidance counselor and child development expert. ‘It’s important to reassure your child that the house you’re leaving will be well cared for by the next family.’ ” —Scholastic
6. Consider having kids stay with a friend or babysitter on moving day to avoid witnessing the actual move.
7. Take snapshots (or even make a photo book) of your old house and neighborhood. Then you can look through them with your child, remember the old house and explain the process of moving. —my friend Gemma
8. Once you move, unpack the child’s bedroom first. They’ll feel better if they can be settled in their own bed surrounded by familiar belongings.
9. Spend quality time with your child. When her son was having a tough time after moving, blogger Liza Cumming focused on him: “Rather than devoting myself to the task of unpacking and giving in to my desire to have everything ordered, I left it all and spent the week focusing on Finn, giving him the attention he had been craving and establishing a new routine of playgroups, parks and story-time at the local library. I wanted him to feel secure in his new environment, an orderly house could come later.”
10. Acknowledge your child’s feelings. “No toddler is happy about moving. Moving is loss…Encourage him to express any feelings of grief, loss, anger…If you welcome them, they will pass more quickly, and your mission will be accomplished, your relationship of trust intact.” —Janet Lansbury
I’m going to talk to little Anton tonight, too, since according to Janet Lansbury, “Even with an infant, honest preparation eases a change. He may not understand all we say, but he will surely sense our intention.”
Have you moved with kids? Do you have any other advice? Did you try any of the tips above? How did it go? I would LOVE to hear! Thank you so much xoxo
(Top photo of my mom with sister and me when we were moving houses)