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March 25, 2024

Moving with Children

Reviewed By: Kelly Cruse, VP Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer, Atlas World Group - 20+ Years in HR, Recruitment Trends, and DE&I

Moving with Children
Moving can be challenging for children to process. It can feel overwhelming to leave friends, family, and the place where they’ve put down roots. The following tips can help ease this transition. 

1. Let Them Know as Early as Possible

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

Positive Parenting Solutions suggests having discussions about why the move is the best choice for the family as a whole as early as possible. This gives your kids more time to process the news, work through their emotions, and identify any specific concerns or problems they may want to talk through.

2. Keep Them Involved 

A move may be hard for kids to fully comprehend. Your children may not feel like they had a say in your decision to move, which can make them feel like they lack control or autonomy. Giving them a say in other aspects of your move may help to ease this feeling.

Ask for input about how they want to decorate their new bedroom, bring them along on trips to check out potential new homes, have them find parks, stores, or restaurants nearby they may enjoy. Not only does this help you all get more familiar with the area your family will eventually move to, but it can also give your children a sense of involvement.

You might not be able to give them everything they want, but you can find out what is most important to them and keep it in mind as you look for a new home. 

This approach helps your kids feel like they are not just passive observers and that their needs are considered. That kind of positive attention can help soothe your children during what can be a challenging process.

3. Encourage Them to Maintain Friendships

Decades ago, moving made it significantly more difficult to stay in touch with friends and family in your child’s hometown. Phone calls and mail helped, but each had its own limitations. Now, with the world of smartphones, it is 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 is entirely possible for teens to stay close to friends from their old hometown.

Lohmann also suggested planning a return trip shortly after the move is complete. If your child 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 child's friends later on.


4. Encourage Them to Experience New  Surroundings

Finding fun things to do in a new town is one of the best parts of a move. As long as you are aware of your child’s feelings and do not push them too far when they are still 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 is sports leagues and community theater or something as simple as a bookstore or coffee shop.

5. Keep Their Belongings Safe

Damage to an important item like a gaming console or autographed band poster in transit is sure to start a move on the wrong foot for your kids. For some kids, these familiar and important items help them get through the potential stress of a move.

Get in touch with expert movers and packers, like Atlas, to make sure this critical part of the transition goes smoothly.

Tips for Keeping Children Entertained During a Move 

Whether you are moving across town or to the opposite end of the country, there are steps you can take to keep your child happy and entertained, such as:
  • If you have one available, a tablet has plenty of great games or educational videos for your children. 
  • Books are another great option for older kids. You can help them choose a few selections before heading out on the road.
  • If you really want to keep your kids engaged while traveling, look into travel coloring items or a collection of small puzzles.
  • Sometimes, you can even play games in the car, like "I Spy," "20 Questions," or "Road Trip Bingo."

How to Help Your Kids Meet New Friends After a Summer Move

It is never easy being further away from friends and family. However, starting the next school year on relatively even footing with new classmates can be a positive thing.

If you move toward the beginning of summer, your kids may have to spend a few months getting settled before going back to school. Use these tips to help your children start meeting new people.

Opportunities to Meet New Friends

Your move probably gave you plenty of things to deal with, so you may not have thought about what your kids will do in their free time now that the process is over, and school is out.

That is okay – there is still time to find activities and other opportunities for them to cross paths with other kids. Ideas to consider include:
  • Summer Camps: Although some require registration long in advance, it does not hurt to reach out and see if last-minute cancellations or other circumstances mean there is an open spot for your child.
  • Parks and Recreation Classes: Check with your local parks and recreation department. They may have short-term offerings with open spots that either meet your children's existing interests or sound exciting enough for them to try something new.
  • Volunteering: Programs managed by local nonprofits, organizations, and municipal governments can be an excellent way to meet other kids while contributing to the community.
  • Visiting Local Parks: A more informal approach of simply visiting a park or playground can be especially useful with younger children. Park visitors of a similar age will also generally have a mom, dad, or caretaker watching over them. That means you can meet and make arrangements for future play dates if your kids hit it off.
  • Meeting Neighbors: Hosting a housewarming party and inviting those on your block. You can also simply ring doorbells and introduce yourself to your nearest neighbors. This approach offers plenty of opportunities for everyone in your family to make new connections.

Positioning Your Kids for Success When Meeting New Friends

Once your kids are old enough, you do not have to do too much to facilitate the development of new relationships. With younger children, it is not always as simple.

Keep your efforts open, positive, and low stress when encouraging your kids to meet new friends. Some ways you can do this include:
  • Be gentle but focused with shy kids: Today's Parent said the best way to help shy kids - whether it is a personality trait or a temporary trait brought on by the move - is to gently coach them. Consistently make eye contact, speak clearly, smile, use a person's name, and have them practice the same behaviors.
  • Help them converse: PBS Parents suggested helping your kids understand how to build and continue conversations, as well as praising good conversational behaviors they exhibit. This builds confidence and helps them use the same approach when meeting new people.
  • Don't worry too early: While you should not ignore a long, ongoing concern about a lack of friends, remember it takes time for your child to build bonds. Your anxiety can rub off on your child if you express it too openly, so focus your energies on helping them develop and grow.

Let Atlas Take Care of Your Move

Atlas takes care of your move so you can focus on getting your family settled in your new home. Our full-service approach encompasses every aspect of the moving process from packing and transportation to unpacking and furniture assembly. Whether it's a local move or a long-distance relocation, we have the resources and capabilities to take you and your family to new places. 

With our dedication to customer satisfaction and commitment to excellence, Atlas Van Lines remains a top choice for those seeking an easy relocation experience. Get your free quote today and discover the Atlas difference.