5 Tips for Moving With Kids.
Moving With Kids
5 Helpful tips.
So we're very grateful to NOT be moving this summer, but a large moving truck in the neighborhood the other day and a few friends packing up their families and moving across the country this summer made me think about sharing a couple of lessons learned from moving with little kids in three of the last four summers.
1. Leave with happy memories. I love to have the kids take a few polaroid pictures of their friends before we move, these tiny treasured photos are perfect to tuck into backpacks while traveling and hang up in new rooms, to create instant happy memories and ease the loneliness.
2. Stay in touch. Chances are your children are leaving behind some good friends. We've found modern (Skype) and traditional (snail mail) methods of pen pals provide a good way for them to maintain contact and continue their friendships. Audrey was even co-writing a story with some of her more creative friends earlier this year! And those Skype calls and happy mail days did wonders to lift everyone's spirits!
3. Open honest communication. We had several challenges with our most recent move, and found it helpful to share our own feelings with the kids. Admitting we also found it hard to leave friends and the comforts of the old home, routines, and community helped create a common ground that led to meaningful conversations. Which leads to the last two tips.
4. Accepting the emotional fallout. This one is HUGE, and I wish I would have understood it from the beginning. Every child handles a move differently. We've seen ours go through a wide range of emotions in the process, especially sadness, anger, and fear. Accepting this as inevitable allowed me to let go of the guilt I felt for my role in the decisions ultimately requiring us to move. I believe those feelings are a natural part of life from childhood on, whether from moving or some other change or stressor. Although difficult, we try to approach moves as opportunities for our children to build emotional awareness and fluency. The more they learn to navigate their feelings and develop healthy coping skills, the better prepared and resilient they are for the rest of their lives. That being said, its not always easy and it often takes awhile to settle in. It took us a year to normalize after our last move.
5. Explore helpful tools. It might be worth watching, Inside Out, and exploring this incredible interactive beautifully designed visual tool The Atlas of Emotions! These are a few of our favorite resources that help children conceptualize what they are feeling on the inside. I think we will be getting them each this workbook for children moving to a new home for our next move!
And because eating out and living in hotels are often apart of our moving process, we've found it helpful to pack the kids iPods with new audio books and pick up a few fun toys that are especially awesome for traveling and restaurants, like these WikiSticks Traveler Playset Craft Kit.
If you're not moving this summer, but see someone coming in, consider reaching out. For us, a neighbor coming by to introduce themselves makes us feel so welcome. We even got some cookies this most recent move, which was above and beyond! Just the simple gesture of introducing yourself makes a big difference to welcome a moving family who is likely to feel a little short on the sense of community.