After planning and packing and moving, you may be tempted to think your move is over. Not quite. It’s not just moving from one place to another that unsettles children, it’s getting used to the new: The new school, the new kids next door, the new noises in their new rooms.
Use these simple tips to help your kids adjust to your new home:
Do a safety check. First things first. You’ll want to make sure that your home and yard are safe for your kids. Company structures Plug outlets, look for tripping hazards, and check for slippery steps outside. Not only will you feel more secure, your children will be able to check out the new house without worrying they’re treading off-limits.
Unpack the children’s rooms first. Find the boxes with favorite toys and help your child unpack them. You’ll relieve any anxiety and provide a sense of control over an unfamiliar situation. Familiarity is important, especially to younger children. Set up bedrooms like their old ones as much as possible. If a bed was next to the window in your former home, try to situate it that way in the new house, too.
Stick to your routines. You may be tempted to dive in and get everything unpacked, but your child will benefit more from adhering to a regular routine, even on the day you move in. Make an effort to have meals, naps, and walks at the usual times. It’ll help everyone to be calmer and more relaxed.
Continue your old family rituals … If Friday is movie might, pop the popcorn and plop down on the couch with the kids, even if you haven’t unpacked everything yet. It’s just one more way to provide some comforting familiarity.
And create new ones. If you wanted to structure more family time, this can be the perfect time to establish Wednesday as library day, to read before bedtime or start taking walks after dinner.
Explore your new surroundings. Do take walks, and bike rides, and car trips. Find all the cool new spots in your new neighborhood. If it’s not the season to enjoy the ice skating pond in the park, make a note on the calendar to explore it when the time is right.
Help your kids connect with others. School-age kids typically get to meet other children right away, but if you have moved during the summer break, or if your children are too young for school, Lori Collins Burgan, author of Moving With Kids: 25 Ways to Ease Your Family’s Transition to a New Home, suggests that you leave toys outside, and spend time outdoors with your kids (even in bad weather) so that other neighborhood children will know they’ve moved in.
Keep the moving boxes. They make great playhouses and tunnels—maybe you could even help your kids build a fort on the front lawn (see above tip)!
Remind your kids that no matter what changes, you are always there for them.