The Moving Experience: How to Help Your Kids Settle in a New Area

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Moving is a major undertaking for anyone. But for couples with kids, pulling up stakes and moving to a new area can be especially challenging. For kids, moving means leaving comfortable and familiar surroundings, saying goodbye to schools, teachers, friends, family members, and possibly even family pets. And while parents may be excited about the new opportunities, the thought of moving to a new, unknown area can bring fear and doubt for kids, making the process much more difficult. If you happen to be a parent who is faced with moving, and you want to make the experience as positive as possible for your children, here’s a look at some effective ways to help your kids get settled into a new area.

Be sensitive and aware that your kids will need time to adjust – While you may be excited to “hit the ground running” after your move, it’s important to be aware that your kids will need time to adjust. After all, for your kids, everything is new and unfamiliar--new house, new school, new neighborhood kids, new rooms, new smells and sounds--and adjusting to all of these new things at once may be difficult. Think about hiring a moving company to help you settle in as quickly as possible. A quick search for “NYC moving company,” for example, should give you plenty of good options.

Put safety first – Naturally, you checked out your new home before you moved. But now that the whole family has arrived, you need to do a safety check right away to make sure that the house and yard are safe for your kids. Look for potential problems with doors--locking and unlocking--plug outlets, tripping hazards, and icy or wet slippery steps outside. Once you feel that the house is secure, you can take your children on a tour of the house, pointing out any similarities to the old house and other features that might make them feel more at home.

Unpack the kids’ rooms first and make it fun – Your kids’ moving boxes contain their favorite and familiar toys and other comforting items. Help your kids unpack those boxes first and make a game out of putting familiar items in new places. Rather than feeling like powerless onlookers, your kids will feel a sense of control over the situation if you make them a part of unpacking and setting up their own rooms. If possible, try to set up beds and other furniture as close to the way those items were arranged in your child’s old room as this will bring them added familiarity and comfort.

Stick to family routines and rituals – Just as familiar items bring comfort in new surroundings, sticking to regular routines and family rituals will help your kids feel calmer and more relaxed after a move. Meals, walks and afternoon naps should happen at the usual times. Traditional movie and game nights that your family enjoyed in your old home should also be observed to keep things normal and familiar.

Take advantage of the chance to create new routines – As uncomfortable as relocating to a new place can be, a move can also provide the ideal opportunity for families to create fresh starts by making new routines. If the move meant that dad or mom now have a new job, why not give the kids new chores and responsibilities around the house? If you’ve always wanted to take more family walks, or to start reading bedtime stories to your kids, or to watch less TV as a family, now’s the time to do it.

Start new adventures – Moving to a new area opens up a whole new world of possibilities for your family. You just have to look for them. Now’s your chance to turn family walks, bike rides and car trips into family adventures as you and your kids explore your new surroundings for fun places to go. Remember, this is your new home now. The sooner you get your kids out and about, exploring the possibilities in your new area, the faster they will adjust to it.

Help your kids make new social connections – It’s easy for parents to get caught up with jobs and other responsibilities after a move, and to put socializing with neighbors on the back burner. But for your new kids on the block, making new friends is the best and quickest way to make them feel more at home after a move. Be aware of your neighbors and try to spend time outdoors with your kids to create opportunities for them to meet and socialize with neighborhood kids.

Moving to a new house in a new area can be an uncomfortable experience for kids. By using these tips to help your kids settle in quickly after your upcoming move, you’ll be on your way to having a house that the entire family will be happy to call home, sweet home.