No matter what the weather when the calendar says it’s Spring the For Sale signs start popping up on lawns all over town. Moving is exciting and it’s stressful and when we have kids the stress is multiplied by the number of children.
You and the kids can not only survive but actually take charge of your move and make moving day less of a nightmare. (Are you getting the message that I find moving challenging?)
Let’s see what we can do to make moving a positive experience. Here are my tips and ideas. What has worked for you?
Moving Day Can be Relatively Stress-Free
I would not be presumptuous enough to suggest that I can offer ideas for removing all stress from moving day. There will be stress but it doesn’t need to be quite so over-whelming.
Most parents wish they could somehow put their kids on hold while they try to keep the house perfectly clean to be sold and while they organize, sort and pack the accumulated paraphernalia of their life in the current house. The decision to move must be made by the adults, but the kids need to be kept in the loop. After all, they’re moving too. So, tell them why you’re moving. Is it more space? A new job? They’ll want all the details such as where they’re going to sleep, whether they can bring their toys and whether their new neighbourhood has a playground.
When you’re selling the house involve the kids in preparing it to be shown and encourage the realtor to recognize their help. The more they’re part of the process, the more easily they’ll accept the change.
In terms of the house you will purchase, bring the children with you to visit any houses you have determined are good possibilities. With younger kids only show them the house you have bought so they can start to imagine living there. With older kids, you can show them a few that are on your short list and listen to their comments. They will have considerations that are different from yours and could be pertinent.
When you involve the kids they have some control over the upcoming change and become part of the process. As a bonus, some of this positive and creative energy will pass on to you.
You have bought and sold and now you have everything packed and ready to go. What are some things you can do to make this stressful time easier for you and your children?
• If you’re moving a distance, arrange a going-away party. They need to say good-bye to their friends in a structured way.
• Make sure you have the addresses (including email) of their closest friends so they can keep in touch if they wish.
• Have children help with the packing. Even little ones can bring you unbreakable belongings such as books or pots and pans to place in a box.
• Make sure they each get to have a backpack for their treasures. They need to know that their favourite things are safe and the best way to do that is let them have them in their own packs.
• On Moving Day younger children should be elsewhere with friends or a sitter. If they really want to watch, arrange for a sitter to be with them while they watch their belongings go into the truck. This sitter can also take them elsewhere when they get bored.
• Older children can be helping. They can help with the last-minute packing, making sandwiches for the movers and yourselves or doing the vacuuming after a room is cleared. Make it a family move, rather than an adult event and everyone will benefit.
Moving will be hard work but it can easily be worthwhile, exciting and ultimately successful.
Sarah is shy, Jared is bossy and Pat is Easy-Going.
What do we need to know about different temperaments?
One thing we learn about kids is that every child is unique and different. My mini guide e-book, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments addresses some of the temperaments we see in our kids.
I looked at my two children who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a textbook example of different.
But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking.
The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. The guide is available on my website.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, (http://www.parentingtoday.ca/workshopskeynotes/) have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
I look forward to working with you for your professional development, workplace wellness or parenting education event.