Moving into your new home is a wonderful feeling. All the hard work up to this point has paid off and you can now focus on settling in, taking a deep breath and enjoying this next phase of your life. But all change takes time to digest. Navigating a big change like moving has its hurdles. It can sometimes be particularly difficult for kids to adjust to their new home and neighborhood. Keep in mind they’ve left their friends, school, familiar places and even their old rooms. And kids don’t adapt as quickly as adults. But there are several ways you can help your kids through the transition.
Establish New Routines ASAP
Family routines tend to become lax while you go through the moving process. More than likely, you’ve gotten away from regular mealtimes and bedtime routines and that’s disruptive to children. Even though you’re now in a new environment, begin to set some schedules and routines as soon as you can. Talking it out with family members helps. Tell your kids you’ll all be back to a normal schedule soon and ask for their input, too. Make up some new rituals—how about a new tradition of Wednesday night taco night in the new house?
My New Room!
Your kids might not get as excited about new window treatments as you do, but setting up their new rooms will be fun. Little ones will need your help, but let older kids design their new digs—maybe even choose their own paint color. Take a tour of the new rooms with the younger kids and help them find light switches, closets, etc. It may be best to set up the new room in a similar layout to their old one so they’re more oriented and feel comfortable.
Get Fido and Fifi Settled
Moving is hard on pets, and getting them settled in the new home will also benefit your kids. Pets are a comforting presence for children. Even if you don’t normally allow your dog to sleep with the kids, make an exception on the first night. They’ll both feel safer.
Meet the Neighbors
Seeing the new neighborhood kids out playing will be a welcome sign to your kids. Get over as soon as possible to introduce your family to the neighbors. Even though you’ve enrolled your kids in new schools, the neighbor kids will give them the inside scoop on the school, teachers, athletic programs and other topics of interest. After some unpacking and when it feels manageable, suggest a pizza night or other informal gathering at your home so you all can become better acquainted.
Explore the Neighborhood Together
You can’t really get the full feel for a neighborhood until you drive through a few times. Ideally, you will visit at different times of the day during the week and weekend. You could drive through at 2 pm and it may seem quiet, but when school lets out, it could become chaotic. Driving through around 11 pm on a Saturday night might give you a good idea if there are parties with loud music or a lot of foot traffic that may make you feel uneasy.
Check out the local parks, library, rec center and other kid-friendly neighborhood facilities in your new area. Making sure they stay within your family’s safety rules, let the kids explore some of these attractions on their own. Encouraging their independence will help them feel more confident while adjusting to their new home and neighborhood.
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