Moving to a new neighborhood is a major adjustment for the entire family, but things can be particularly challenging for children. A move can make kids feel as though their lives are being turned upside down. Here are some strategies to help your children feel more comfortable in a new environment.
Prepare Your Kids for the Move
Talk to your kids before, during and after the move. Explain where you’re moving to and why in simple terms, and tell them what you already know about the neighborhood. Encourage your kids to ask questions, and ask them if they have any specific concerns so you can address them.
If possible, explore the neighborhood at least once before moving day so your kids can get acquainted with the community before officially moving into the new house. Take a walk or drive around the area to see what types of activities and restaurants it has to offer. Locate athletic fields, a community swimming pool, a bowling alley, an arcade, walking and biking trails, and other fun places for the family to explore together.
Visit Their New Schools
Contact administrators at the school(s) your children will attend, and arrange for the kids to visit before they start classes. This will give them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the layout and to ask questions about academics and extracurricular activities so their first day won’t feel too overwhelming.
Meet the Neighbors
It can be hard for some kids to strike up a conversation with other children they don’t know. If you see kids outside playing, take a walk over to introduce the family. Talk about your children’s interests and hobbies, and ask (or encourage your kids to ask) questions about the local schools, parks, fun activities and local restaurants.
The family can join a community organization together, or you can enroll your kids in sports, Scouts, or other groups so they can meet other children their age. You can also consider inviting some neighborhood families over for pizza or a barbecue once your family has unpacked.
Stick to Routines
Predictability makes children feel safe. During the process of moving, routines can get upended and life can feel chaotic. Return to your normal routines as soon as possible after moving into your new house. Stick to consistent bedtimes, wakeup times and mealtimes. If you regularly participated in family activities, such as evening walks and weekend bike rides, begin doing those things again in your new neighborhood.
Help Your Kids Get Settled
Adjusting to a new neighborhood will take time for your kids. Communicating with your children, helping them explore and learn about their new community, and reestablishing familiar routines will make the transition easier.