Moving to a new home or starting at a new school can be stressful life transitions for kids. But what happens when both take place at the same time? How do you help your child cope and get comfortable with so much unfamiliar territory? Below, we share some tips and tricks to help kids transition more smoothly with moving and heading to school!
Break the News in a Positive Way
Try planning a fun outing where you can make the announcement that you’ll be moving to a new home and starting a new school. By choosing a positive environment, such as your child’s favorite pizza place or arcade, it can be easier to break the news since they’ll be in a space where they feel good. Be sure to let them ask questions and respond sensitively to their reactions, too.
Keep the Moving Process Fun
The process of packing up and moving with children is tough, not just in terms of coordinating everything, but also because it’s the loss of a familiar environment for your child. To offset some of the chaos, consider buying some new toys for the move, especially if you’re driving or flying across the country to your new home. Having something fun to play with in the car or on a plane can provide some distraction for your child. There are even great kids books about moving available that can help your children better understand what’s happening and make the time go faster!
Involve Kids in the New House
Another way to help your kids feel more excited and less anxious about your family moving homes is to get them involved in the process. Whether that’s bringing them with you to do a walk-through of your new home, playing a game while packing up belongings, or letting them pick out their new room, having your kids play a role in your new home can help them feel more comfortable about moving.
Unpack the Kids First
After moving into a new home, it’s tempting to start unpacking everything. But finishing the kids’ move should be the first priority. Giving your children the maximum amount of time to adjust to their new surroundings and keeping their routines intact is incredibly beneficial in eliminating stress for them. So make sure you set up kids bedrooms and playrooms first.
Get Settled with a Family Outing
Unpacking your household and trying to figure out “the right spot” for all of your stuff can be time-consuming. Give your family a break by grabbing dinner at a fun restaurant, exploring a local park or mall, or catching a movie. Not only will be it be a much-needed reset, but it’ll also help you and the kids begin to get familiar with your new surroundings.
Tour Your Kids’ New School
The beginning of a new school year can be scary for children, especially when switching schools. Take some of the pressure off for your kids by touring the new school or taking advantage of an open house night. That way, you can help them get to know their teachers, locate the school library and lunch room, and scope out the designated after-school pick-up spot.
Arrange a Playdate
Ease your children’s anxiety about going to a new school by setting up a playdate with your neighbors or with families from the new school. Not only will this help your kids feel more comfortable about living in a new area, but it will also give them some familiar faces when school starts.
Ease Back into Routines
Moving will most likely throw off some of your daily routines, but it’s important to get back on them, especially before your kids head back to school. Bedtimes, family dinners, and homework schedules will be an adjustment at first, but if you take your time working your kids back into a regular schedule, it can help the moving and new school transition go smoother.
Use Consistent Goodbyes
An often-overlooked way to help kids feel comfortable with a new school tips. Whether it’s handing them their lunch before they head out the front door, walking them up to the school doors in the morning, or coming up with a fun saying for whenever you drop them off at school, saying goodbye in a comforting way can help ease your child’s separation anxiety in a new place.
Prepare for the First Day
Before your child’s first day, take the time to make a back-to-school checklist to ensure they have everything they need to get started. This can include a schedule of where they need to go and at what time, a list of supplies for the school year, and any new school clothing they may need.
Remember the Transition Continues
Transitioning to a new home and a new school doesn’t end after you get unpacked and drop them off on the first day. There’s going to be an adjustment period. So how can you help? It’s simple: listen. Don’t ask too many questions. Just be a resource for them when they choose to open up and be there to help when they’re having issues.
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