Relocation is a significant step in everyone’s life. It usually means a change of job, environment, community, and sometimes culture. We say goodbye to one part of our life, break the routine, and start anew somewhere else. In addition, moving can be an exhausting procedure, where between finding a new family home and preparing for the relocation, we ignore the inevitable stress that comes with it. Moreover, we forget it doesn’t affect only us, but every family member. Disrupting the harmony of everyday life especially falls hard on kids. Thus, to make cross-country move with kids bearable, you will need to find ways to make it simple and easy, helping them get on board.
Talk to your kids about the move
Parenthood requires many skills and knowledge, but more importantly, it requires a good psychological approach. Kids are intelligent, and giving them a voice in decisions concerning family well-being is a good strategy that will build independence, sustainability, and resilience. Having a conversation with children from the moment you decide it’s time to move is one of the most critical steps of the process.
Regardless of your child’s age, it’s essential to include them from the very start. Explain the reasons for your move and how the relocation will benefit everyone’s well-being, especially theirs. In addition, introduce them to possibilities and advantages the new city will provide. It will be easier for younger kids to accept the change than teenagers. Toddlers readily engage in activities and adventures, so it’s easy to turn challenges into success. However, teenagers have spread deeper roots and connections with a community and surroundings. You’ll have to be more persistent in helping them understand the moving decision.
Take care of the paperwork
If you moved before, you know that relocation is not only about packing and transferring your household to a new location. The most annoying and stressful part is dealing with all the paperwork and transfers the process will bring, especially when relocating with school-age kids. After researching and picking a new school, sort out all the required documents. Additionally, have birth certificates, card reports, medical records, and IDs with you at all times. Packing for a cross-country move with kids can be messy, and without a good organization, important papers can easily disappear in one of the many packing boxes. Worst-case scenario, they could accidentally end up in a trash bin.
Make a moving journal
The sooner you start planning and scheduling steps for a cross-country move with kids, the easier it will be to execute it. Even with good preparation, coordinating a whole process of an interstate move with kids can be a living hell. Thus, make a good plan first, clearly separating what to do before and during the move. Put it all on paper, creating the journal. Your chapters should include steps like:
- Estimating timeline and dates the move is happening,
- Scheduling moving services,
- Deciding on your transport (via car, train, or plane),
- Decluttering the home,
- Acquiring packing materials,
- Staying organized during packing (don’t forget to separate the essentials),
- Arranging a daycare for the moving day,
- Cleaning the place after the moving crew is done.
Additionally, you can make an extensive moving calendar, writing down the crucial steps in the brackets. Your kids may find it fun, helping you with chores while checking the boxes off.
Get everyone involved in the process
Distraction is an excellent way of making your kids adjust to change more easily. By involving them in chores and preparations in the process, you’ll make them a part of a team. That way, they will gradually get used to the idea of relocation, while you’ll be getting some help when packing. The first step is getting them to understand what’s coming, and the second is getting them excited about the idea.
If helping you execute things from the moving list doesn’t work as an attempt to engage them, you can give them homework. Of course, not all kids love homework. You will have to be creative when coming up with a reward for the excellent work. Assign them with research about their future city, fun stuff you could do as a family there, or benefits you’ll experience. Sometimes, kids need to hear about good things from other sources.
Use memories to help with the adjustment
Your children probably have outfits, toys, blankets, or other items that they’re very fond of. These things they are attached to can help during the relocation, so make sure to pack them in your essential bag. They might need it on the way to a new home or right after they arrive. Familiar things help children feel safe and happy. Having their favorite toy with them will help them cope with change are realization only their surrounding changed and nothing else. Display family memorabilia and familiar items in kids’ room after the move to help them feel cozy while adapting to a new house.
Most important, arm yourself with patience!
Cross-country move with kids will bring many new experiences for yourself and your children. The change of country and possibly culture brings new opportunities, but to seize them, you’ll have to properly say goodbye to your old life, at the same time, preparing for what’s ahead of you. In addition, you’ll need to arm yourself with patience and understanding to help the family go through this thing together.
Meta: To make cross-country move with kids bearable, you’ll need to find ways to make the process simple and easy while helping them get on board.