Moving can be super-scary and exciting at the same time for kids. Who am I kidding? It can be that way for moms and dads too! There are so many unknowns that sometimes we focus on those instead of the new — and sometimes better — adventures! In the past 15 years, our family has moved ten times. Over those many, many times of moving, I have learned that there are things I won’t tell my kids when we move to a new home — and I’m sharing those with you today!
I want my kids to embrace each adventure with happiness, instead of grudgery and complaints — don’t you? But, it’s a hard balance to relish the memories of the past while looking forward to the new and exciting future. But somehow, my kids have learned to do just that. In fact, we’re getting ready to move yet again. We’ve been in one home for almost four years, and it’s time to make a new beginning. Sure, I love the idea of being planted somewhere for 15 years and making memories there, but that is not the lot divvied out for our family. So we take our lot in life and make the best of it. I hope you and your family are able to do the same!
7 Things I Won’t Tell My Kids When We Move
- Forget about the past relationships. Our family’s life has been full of saying goodbyes. It’s not easy for any of us, and I try to keep an open and tender heart for my kids and their relationships with others. We do what we can to help them stay in touch with friends. We exchange email addresses, let them chat on Skype, Facebook or Facetime. We let them take days off school and chores to spend some extra fun time with their friends before we move. We let them buy gifts for their friends and work hard at keeping that soon-to-be, long-distance relationship alive. We have learned that true friends are hard to come by — and we certainly don’t want distance to come between our children and their true friends they meet along life’s journey.
- That’s life. When my kids cry or they can’t sleep because they miss someone, I make time to listen. In fact, many times I cry with them because I know their hurt all too well. Sometimes I grab a special treat for them or let them stay up late so they get some extra one-one-one time to really share their heart. Just because goodbyes are part of life, doesn’t mean we should just move on and not let our kids express their hurt and sadness about that difficult hurdle.
- Get rid of your personal belongings. Sure, we have to get rid of some things every time we move, but if my child has a special blanket, bear, toy or pillow — that item is coming with us! Having a cherished item from the past helps kids adjust to the future; and we want our kids to be happy and secure wherever we go
- You’ll love it there — I promise. Let’s be careful not to make promises to our children that we don’t know to be true. Sure, we want them to love their new beginnings, but we have no idea if our children will love them or not. In fact, it may take them months or even years to find a new friend they really like. When you take kids to an entire new culture and country, it can take even longer as your child will be the outsider who has to learn a new language, new way of living and what childhood looks like in that culture. And even if they just change areas of the Untied States, it can be difficult. Moving from a snowy place to South Florida would be difficult for a snow-loving child. Just take it one step at a time and be careful not to promise your child any unknowns because you want your child to trust you — always!
- Don’t worry about making friends, they’ll come to you. As we have moved from place to place, I notice that my more outspoken and social children make friends more quickly, while my introverted children kind of stand in the background and go unnoticed. I don’t tell my kids to try to be the center of attention, but I do tell them to be friendly and introduce themselves. Sure, it takes a little bit of guts, but in the end it always works well for my kids. Sometimes people are shy about meeting the “new kid” — and definitely it’s hard to be the “new kid” — but things just seem to work out more smoothly if my children kindly introduce themselves and strike up conversations. They may not get ten friends in one day, but they normally get two or three!
- I really dread moving. Sure, there may be moments when I feel that way, but there are things that better left unsaid. I do verbalize if I have a few fears about our future, but it’s in a way so my kids can relate. I ask them what things make them a little anxious and uneasy about moving and I relay to them my anxieties as well — but I don’t dwell on any dread I may feel. In fact, I try to focus on all the “perks” of our new home. Some perks can be a prettier house, more kids, better entertainment, awesome food, more educational opportunities, new bedrooms — and the list goes on! Be honest with your kids about your feelings, but try to stay positive about your new adventure. Your attitude can help shape your child’s perception of the moving process!
- Your opinion doesn’t matter. Of course, we do have the last say-so in the final decision-making process, but we ask our kids what their thoughts and opinions are. For instance, I let my kids choose their own room decor, color of paint for their walls, and bedroom furniture — with a few limits, of course. We also ask their opinion of our new home before we choose to move. We ask questions like:
- “Do you like this house?”
- “What do you like about it?”
- “Is there anything you want to change?”
That way our kids don’t feel like they’re just along for the ride. Any major decision for our family we get everyone’s input so it’s a family adventure!
What about your family? Do you move frequently or do you have a big move coming up? It can be tough at times for your kids, but with a positive attitude, an understanding heart and an inclusive attitude, you and your family can make the move — and actually enjoy it!