How to Help Your Child Adjust to a New Home after Relocation

August 30, 2022 | Written By: Emma Jones

Even a short-distance move may be a stressful experience for kids and parents alike. Moving requires you to disassemble your life as you know it, physically move yourself and your family to a new location, and then assemble it again. It's even more challenging for kids, regardless of their age. Their friendships are shattered. They have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. Teenagers and preteens alike feel anger and depression. Infants and toddlers tend to become overly attached and regressive. And it doesn't help that their parents are often irritable because they have too much on their plates. But don't worry; there are ways to make your new place feel like home and help your child adjust to a new home after relocation. We've consulted experts and prepared tips to make your family move less stressful and fun.

Simple ways to help your child adjust to a new home

Each stage of a child's growth and development is accompanied by its unique transformations. Whatever the transition may be, it has the potential to affect everyone in the family emotionally. An excellent example of such a significant transition is moving.

When a family moves, it can be difficult for the kids to say goodbye to their friends and family. They'll leave behind the sights, smells, and sounds of their environment. After relocating, children have to make new friends and connect with teachers and caregivers at a new daycare or school.

A move may temporarily shake a child's sense of security and predictability, but a change of scenery isn't necessarily harmful to them. Changing locations can teach kids to be more open-minded, adaptable, resilient, self-reliant, brave, and social. Relocation can expose kids to other cultures and peoples, enriching their development.

However, not every family move is the same. A family may have to uproot if one parent receives a promotion at work or if they want to be closer to their extended relatives. On the other hand, there are more unfortunate and disruptive circumstances, such as the loss of a job or a parent's marriage. Different circumstances present difficulties, but if you follow the tips we've prepared below, you'll make this experience as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

#1 Start talking about the move as early as possible

Age, temperament at birth, personality, experience, and family harmony all play a role in how children deal with and adjust to a move. As a parent, your job is to help your child adjust to a new home. To do this, you first need to help them prepare for your upcoming move.

Therefore, before you reach out to your experienced Realtor® to list your home, break the news to your children. Don't keep it a secret until the day before the movers are here. Kids will need some time to acclimate. Get everyone on the same page about why you have to move. If mom has a new job, explain that. If you need more room or a larger yard, say so. Make sure they understand why this is happening and why.

Play therapy is an excellent option for younger children who may not fully grasp the scope of what relocating involves. Put on a play with dolls and toys about a family that is relocating. You may even have a conversation with their favorite stuffed animal.

#2 Show them their new home

Children may have trouble imagining what their new environment will look like if they are uprooted. So it's always a good idea to show them photos of your new family home. Even better, show your kids a video tour of the new home if you can't take them there in person. If you reach out to your experienced real estate team, they'll surely be willing to organize this for you and your kids.

You should also show your kids photographs or videos of school-aged children in their new school and give them a guided tour. Communicate with your new instructor via video chat if at all possible. Child psychologists agree that reading these "social stories" will help prepare children for their new surroundings. When you know what to anticipate, the change is less jarring.

#3 Let your kids participate in designing their rooms

Your children may feel like they have no say in anything when you move. To give them a little sense of control, facilitate some choice-making. An excellent way to do this is to involve them in designing their rooms, of course, depending on their age.

For instance, they can choose a shade of paint for their new bedroom, and older kids can even choose their room decor. Giving youngsters the option of arranging their furniture is also a good idea. However, if moving bulky furniture, you need to be careful with this, as the last thing you want is for someone to get hurt. Therefore, research safety tips for hauling bulky furniture and let your kids only tell you where everything will go.

#4 Throw a little moving in party

Lastly, now that the moving day has come and gone, your new home is a jumble of boxes in the living room. But rather than solely concentrating on what must be done, think about how you might help your child adjust to a new home.

You might want to do something special for your first night in your new place. Enjoy yourself, even if it means bringing in takeout and having a picnic on the carpet. Moving into a new home is a reason to celebrate, and that's what you should do. This way, your child will instantly positively associate with your new family home. 

The bottom line

We hope our tips help you help your child adjust to a new home. However, remember that every kid is different, and if you notice your child is having a hard time adjusting to their new surroundings, don't be afraid to talk to the school's guidance counselor or a child therapist. Keep a pad nearby to take down some of your observations or concerns. Contact a specialist if you feel your child is displaying symptoms of severe changes in their learning, sleep habits, or other elements of resilience.