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September 12, 2018

Helping older kids cope with a move

  • Long Distance Moves
  • Move Management
  • Tips and tricks
Use these strategies to help your tweens and teens adapt to a big move.

Moving away from a place where your family has established roots isn't easy for anyone. From parents to young children, everyone will have to say their goodbyes and adjust to living in a new space.

This transition can be especially tough for teens, in particular, as they may feel pulled from their developing social circles and the comfort of a place they've known for much of their lives.

So, how can you help your tweens and teens cope with a move?

Three teens sitting on a park bench, watching a video on a tablet.Planning a trip for your children to visit old friends gives them something to look forward to during and after a move.

Let them know as early as possible

In one way or another, many tweens and teens have already put down deep roots in their community, whether it's through friends, activities, school or just a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Real estate brokerage Redfin suggests breaking the news early on to older children and having discussions about why the move is the best choice for the family as a whole. This gives your kids more time to process the news and work through their emotions and allows you to identify any specific concerns or problems that may arise.

Keep them involved

A move may be hard for younger kids to fully comprehend, but your older children likely have a strong grasp on many of the different aspects of this significant life change. Draw on this understanding by keeping them involved in the process.

Lifestyle blog The Spruce recommends asking for input about the type of neighborhood they want to live in, what sort of space they want for their new bedroom and similar concerns. You can also bring them along on trips to check out potential new homes, which also helps them get more familiar with the area to which your family will eventually move.

You might not be able to give them everything they want, but you can find out what's most important to them and keep it in mind as you look for a new home. This approach helps your older kids feel like they're not just passive observers and that their needs are respected and considered. That kind of positive attention can help soothe your tweens and teens during what can be a very difficult process.

Encourage them to maintain current friendships

Decades ago, moving used to make it significantly more difficult to stay in touch. Phone calls and mail helped, but each had its own limitations. Now, with a whole world of messaging and chat apps available alongside phone calls and email, it's much easier for people to remain connected.

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, a licensed professional counselor, wrote in Psychology Today that, between social media, video chat and texting, it's entirely possible for teens to stay close with friends from their old hometown.

Lohmann also suggested planning a return trip shortly after the move is complete. If your tween or teen has something to look forward to, it can make the uprooting and resettling that comes along with the move a more positive experience. Depending on the distance between your new home and your old one, you can also plan future visits or offer your home for a visit from your kid's friends later on.

Gently encourage them to experience their new surroundings

Finding fun things to do in a new town is one of the best parts about a move. As long as you're sensitive of your tween or teen's feelings and don't push them too far when they're still settling in or processing this major change, you can help them find some positives in and around their new home. Look for activities that match their interests, whether it's sports leagues and community theater or something as simple as a bookstore or coffee shop.

Keep their belongings safe

Having an important item like a gaming console or framed, autographed band poster break in transit is sure to start a move on the wrong foot for your kids. Get in touch with the expert movers and packers at Atlas to make sure this critical part of the transition goes smoothly.