It's not easy to tell children they're about to move. To young kids, their home seems like their entire world, and they might not understand why they have to leave it. Older children and teenagers, of course, have a range of relationships that they might be leaving behind. In fact, middle schoolers typically have the toughest time moving, since it's a major change on top of the changes that come with puberty.
Parents can make moving easier, though. The following strategies can help you frame a move in the most positive possible light.
Offer Reassurance As You're Announcing the Move
When you reveal that you're planning to move, the entire family should be in the room. Everyone should be comfortably seated and completely focused. Speak in soothing tones, and explain why it's necessary. Give your kids the space to express negative reactions without reprimanding them. And, if you've already chosen a new home, show off some photos.
If your children are very young, discuss the moving process itself so that they won't get any scary misconceptions. You might use a toy truck and dollhouses to demonstrate what happens.
Keep Focusing on the Benefits
In the days following your announcement, highlight the exciting aspects of your new community. Does it have batting cages, a gymnastics studio or other facilities that would electrify your kids? If it's close enough, visit it a few times before you move, and make those trips as fun as possible. (Going out for ice cream is a great idea).
In particular, talk up the advantages of your new home. Maybe it's roomier or has a swimming pool. Also, emphasize that your children can bring their favorite possessions and stay in touch with old friends via phone calls and social media.
Make Sure the Lines of Communication Are Open
Your kids might come to terms with this news in waves. Their initial response might be sadness, and then they might seem happy. Later on, they could start feeling down again. Allow them to work through those emotions, and answer all of their questions candidly, even if you have to address the same queries multiple times.
Many children are disturbed when they realize that their lives are changing drastically and they have no say in the matter. To empower them, then, let them make some choices. You might have them select a new pet, their bedroom wallpaper or the color of your living room carpeting. When your kids feel as though they're influencing the move to some degree, they'll probably start looking forward to it.