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How To Help Kids With Moving Anxiety

Moving frequently can not only disrupt kids’ friendships and daily routines but also cause stress for children predisposed to introversion or anxiety.

Most San Clemente Real Estate Agents will tell you that any type of relocation can be stressful for children, but moves triggered by life events like divorce or death can be more challenging for younger family members.

Whether your child is a toddler, a teenager or somewhere in between, our San Clemente Real Estate Agents say that minimizing moving-related stress for your kids is a must-do, along with all your other moving tasks.

What is the Best Age to Move Your Kid?

The best age to move a child is in the toddler years, because they haven’t entered school yet, and their day-to-day routine will be less disrupted. For school-aged children, younger is better, because younger kids are far more accepting of new social situations and new individuals.

Middle school moves are often made more difficult by puberty and hormonal changes. And high schoolers are reluctant to move away from their long-standing friend classes.

Ages 0-3

What to prepare for: Our San Clemente Real Estate Agents say that while the youngest children may readjust easier to the new location, they may have a more difficult time during the transfer itself.

How to make it easier: Leave a few favorite toys out and pack them last. On moving day, keep their schedule as consistent as possible, perhaps having a family member or babysitter on hand to make sure they get their naps in.

Preschool and elementary age

What to prepare for: Young children can feel confused and frustrated but also curious about the new location and excited to live in a new home.

The best way to make it easier: Our San Clemente Real Estate Agents suggest you spend a great deal of time talking about the exciting things to do in their new area. Take the time to answer all of their questions, big and small, as they come up.

Middle school and high school age

What to prepare for: Be ready for big emotions about having to leave their friends, plus higher anxiety about starting at a new college.

How to make it easier: Assist them adjust by introducing them to kids in their area and signing them up for activities right away. Get older kids involved in the house search so they feel as though they have a say in the move.

College age

What to prepare for: College-aged kids may feel nostalgic about you selling the home they grew up in, even if they don’t live there anymore.

How to make it easier: Our San Clemente Real Estate Agents recommend you don’t dismiss their feelings just because they don’t live in the home full time. Keep a memory box with photographs of the old house, plus keepsakes like the doorknob from their bedroom or something from the backyard.

Begin the Moving Conversation with your Children

Our San Clemente Real Estate Agents say that as soon as you’ve definitely decided you are moving, it’s best to tell your children as soon as possible. This will give them time to handle the changes, move past the initial strain and get excited for the new chapter in their lives.

Plan out the moving talk

Hold a family meeting and make sure everybody is there. All family members should hear the news at the same time and from you directly, not each other.

Some San Clemente Real Estate Agents recommend telling your kids everything that is motivating the move so they have a better understanding of why it needs to happen. Of course, this strategy works better for older kids and is sometimes not the best idea if you’re moving because of a foreclosure, bankruptcy or job loss — you don’t want to give them more to be worried about.

Focus on the positive aspects of the move

Whatever the reason for the move, focus on the positive. For example, if you’re moving to a warmer climate, talk about all the fun outdoor activities your family will be able to enjoy year-round.

Have photographs of the new city or town available, share info about colleges, and highlight amenities or activities that will get them excited.

Listen and understand

You will likely get some pushback, maybe tears, but it is important for your kids to understand that you know how hard it is and that you’ll do whatever you can to smooth the transition. Despite the fact that it’s a hectic time, don’t dismiss your children’s concerns.

Explain the procedure carefully

Children that are older won’t need as much handholding about the move as children. And younger children who have only ever lived in one home may have additional questions. Kids’ books about moving can be especially helpful.

Involve children in the home search

Making kids part of the decision-making process is a great way to alleviate moving anxiety. Our San Clemente Real Estate Agents say that by showing that you are contemplating their wants and needs, you can help children move from feeling stressed to excited about what’s to come. Just make certain that your kids know that ultimately, the parent(s) have the final say.

Create a family home wish list

By creating a list of what every family member wants in a new home, children will feel like they have some control over the situation.

Maybe the teenager wants a game room, or your youngest wants to live near a park. These are all great things to add in your wish list. Tell kids you will do your best to incorporate their wishes, but it’s not promised.

Delegate Research Tasks to Children

Older kids who are allowed to use the computer can be tasked with researching the new town and identifying neighborhoods that might appeal to each member of the family.

They can also research extracurricular activities that match their interests — a new dance studio, soccer league or after-school program.

Don’t drag your children to all showings

You may have to tour a lot of houses before you find the right one for your family. Don’t drag your kids to each and every showing, especially if they’re younger and likely to get tired or bored easily. Narrow down homes to a few favorites before you get the kids involved.

If you do bring the children along, make sure you have snacks and games for the car ride, know where to grab a bite to eat nearby and leave plenty of time for bathroom breaks.

Explore Neighborhood Activities

If there’s time between showings, attempt to explore the neighborhood — walk around town, grab some ice cream or check out area schools. You can also get the kids involved in seeing how far the walk is to parks, schools and activities.

Ask kids to help pack for the transfer

In addition to finding the perfect home to move into, your family can also be tasked with getting your previous home ready to list and market. While having children pack up your possessions is not advised, our San Clemente Real Estate Agents say there’s plenty that family members of all ages can do to help pack.

Begin Early

As a parent, you know that many tasks take longer than anticipated when you have little ones helping, so starting your packing process early is crucial. Packing early can also help facilitate staging.

Our San Clemente Real Estate Agents say you don’t have to wait until you are under contract on a new home to start packing. Spread out the workload by packing up things you won’t need (like seasonal things ) early on.

Prioritize Boxes

When you arrive at your new home, your children are going to want to access their most prized possessions right away, so make sure to label boxes so they can easily find the items that can help them feel at home.

Encourage Decluttering

Our San Clemente Real Estate Agents say that prior to a move is generally the perfect time to encourage kids to get rid of toys or decoration things that they’re not getting much use out of. Position the move as an opportunity for a fresh start — perhaps one that could come with some new toys or decoration for their new room.

If your children have a particularly hard time decluttering and you are downsizing into a smaller home, our San Clemente Real Estate Agents advice you consider donating items you know they won’t miss when they’re otherwise occupied.

If their bedroom furniture can be moved, take it with you — familiar furnishings can help kids acclimate to new surroundings.

Keep Constantly Communicating

Packing can be stressful and cause confusion for very young children. For example, when moving with a toddler, make sure they clearly understand that these things are just being temporarily stored, and they’ll see them again at the new home.

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