Moving a long distance can be a traumatic experience for children who have not previously lived anywhere other than one residence or who have lived in a town for years. But, if mothers and fathers set aside time to interact with their children and inform them about the changes to come, these parents can alleviate the anxieties about moving to an unfamiliar place. Since pets, especially dogs and cats, can also easily suffer anxiety, keeping the family calm will help to assure the pets that nothing is wrong.
Parental tips for Keeping Children and Pets Content During the Moving Process:
1. Ease the fears that the children express.
- Inform them that the family is moving.
- Give them the reason for the move.
- Provide them with three reasons they can be happy about the move that will appeal to them. (It could be that they will be close to a park, nearer to a relative, or in a neighborhood where there are children who are their ages.)
- Read books about moving with them.
2. Stay with the routine to which the children are accustomed.
- The more normal that you can keep daily life, the less anxious your children will be.
- Eat evening meals at the usual time, and feed pets on the regular schedule.
- Put the children and pets to bed in the usual manner and at the regular time.
3. Have a party before you move.
- Let the children invite friends to sleep over.
- Have a leaving party at the pizzeria or restaurant of the children’s choice.
- Have a get together with friends and neighbors at your home so your departure will leave you and them with fond memories.
4. Provide the children with some control over things by giving them specific tasks to perform.
- Urge them to put things in their backpacks that they want to have in the car with them.
- Let them choose where you will eat along the way.
- Mark sites in a guidebook for them to find along the way, and reward the winner.
Parental Tips for Helping Children Adjust to the New Home
- Make the transition more comfortable for the children by placing some things in the same location in the new house as they were in the old home. For instance, take the entranceway mirror and hang it again in the entranceway. Put pets’ beds in the usual place. Or bring the pets into your bedroom if they are nervous.
- Keep the same routines for the children and the pets. Have the children walk the dog to acquaint it with the new area. Curious neighborhood children may come forward to see it and other pets and meet your children.
- Provide the children security by arranging their furniture as it was in their former home. Allow them to stay in their rooms at times if they want to do so. There they can contact their old friends privately.
- Make the new house seem like home by baking their favorite cookies so that the kitchen will smell familiar. Or cook the family’s favorite meal.
- Help the children make new friends by talking with neighbors who have children of the similar ages as yours.