When Your Family’s Moving

by Hope Zettwoch

When Your Family’s Moving

Getting ready to go to a new place? While you’re the one with the long list of things to handle before the big day, it’s important for kids to feel like they have some control, too.

Chances are your child is wondering what’s going to happen to her belongings, and whether she’ll make friends in your new town. To help her make the transition:

Before you go
Read a book about moving, or about your new state. Try Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move, by Judith Viorst, or The Lost and Found House, by Michael Cadnum.

Talk about your plans frequently and casually, so she has plenty of opportunity to ask questions. Kids this age tend to be concerned about details: How, exactly, will her stuff get from here to there? If you’re moving close enough, visit your new neighborhood.

While you’re packing
Give your child specific tasks to do, like sorting her books or labeling boxes, so she feels like she’s part of the action.

A special bag she can fill with a few treasured items  — and keep with her, not in a moving van  — will help her feel more secure, too. If you can, pack your child’s room last (and unpack it first), to keep her life as unchanged as possible.

After you arrive
Reassure her that she won’t lose touch with family or friends; say, “After we unpack the camera, we can take pictures to send to your friend Lizzie.” Then, move on to making the new house feel like home. Make your child’s favorite dinner the first night, play your favorite game, or visit the local library.