Moving into a New Home with Kids

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Our last post explored some ideas for helping children say goodbye when moving to a new home. Now, we have a few ideas about looking forward and getting excited about a new home. These ideas have been collected from a variety of wise parents, helpful books, and through nine years of trial and error (and through six international moves). 

We usually focus on saying goodbye for our last couple of weeks. But, we also take time to look forward to our new home. We want to get excited about what we will see, who we will meet, and what we will do. This is our process.

  1. We make a list of kid-friendly tourist spots and then watch videos on Youtube.com to get an idea of the history, the culture, and any tourist destinations. We keep it to about 6 to 8 concepts and try to explore them in detail.
  2. Using social networking sites, we try to find a pen pal for our kids. We find it most helpful to find a family who has kids in the general age range of our children. Then, we send lots of emails asking questions. Each child can ask any question they would like and we ask for answers from the children. We have had some pretty awesome emails using this method. (My four year old daugther: Do you have unicorns and princesses there? Five year old male penpal: Yuck, no way.) 
  3. Working as a family, we make our own “Arrival Scavenger Hunt” of things we want to find. We try to keep it short, usually to about ten items. The list might look like this: ice cream parlor, blueberries, swimming pool, kid-friendly restaurant, bike store for Dad, yoga studio for mom, construction site with lots of machines at work, horse stable with riding lessons, playground, grocery store.
  4. Each child gets to pick out one new special toy and send it ahead so it will be waiting at the new house.
  5. Searching bookstores and online stores, we try to find one guide book for the parents and any guidebooks or works of fiction or non-fiction for the children. 
  6. Our oldest children do an online search to come up with five facts about our new home that we can use when talking to friends. Then, we work on summarizing so that we have a short description of our new home. 
  7. When the movers come to our house, we take some time to let each child decorate the boxes that hold their stuff. On the side of the box, we let each child write a short note to themselves. “Dear Me in Four Months, How are you? I’m sad to leave but excited to see you in xxxx. I just went to our favorite park here and played with my favorite friend. We were talking about you and wondering what you think. Are you happy? Do you like it there? What is your favorite thing? Much love, Me in xxxx old house.

Moving is hard, we all know that. But, some preparation can help ease the pain and give children something to look forward to amidst the chaos. Let us know if you have any other great ideas to add to our list!

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