10 Ways to Make your Child Feel at Home During a Relocation

Family Tips for Relocating Employees

Moving is disruptive for adults, but an employee relocation can be even more unsettling for children. Preparing a child for a new home begins weeks before moving day, and today we offer suggestions for making the transition as seamless as possible.

Before the move

  1. A map or globe will visually pinpoint the location of your new home versus your current home. It is also something they can share with their friends.
  2. If possible, include children in your homefinding trip. When you find a home, be sure to designate the children’s rooms. To cut down on sibling fighting, have the oldest child choose his or her room first. Or draw straws. You know what works best in your family.
  3. Create a memory book filled with remembrances of your present home: pictures of the child’s room, friends, schools, activities. And include pages where the child’s friends can write messages something for the child to read during lonely times at the new location.
  4. You might have to leave behind some favorite toys, especially if this is an international move. Go through each toy, book and stuffed animal with your child, dividing everything into two piles: the can’t-live-without items and those that the child no longer wants or needs. For the latter pile, either donate the toys to a charity or have a garage sale. Is there a toy your child really wants? The proceeds from the garage sale might just cover the cost of that item.

    The move

  5. If you are temporarily living in corporate housing or a hotel, children might not have their own room. But they need their own space to sleep, and this should be decided as soon as possible.
  6. If you are moving into your new home, have the children pick their bedrooms first. (Do this even if they chose the bedrooms on the homefinding trip, since they might have changed their minds.) This gives children a bit of control, exactly what is needed when their lives have just been totally disrupted.
  7. Help your children unpack. If they are old enough, they can unpack themselves, which gives them some alone time and frees you to concentrate on other areas of the home.
  8. Most important: Before the children go to sleep, surround them with familiar items – their favorite dolls, stuffed animals, toys, books, and even sheets and blankets – which will make them feel more at home. Be sure one of those items is the memory book.
  9. Have your children start school immediately; it’s the fastest way to integrate them into their new lives. If school is not in session, before the move scout out scheduled activities such as day camps, teams or dance lessons that interest your children and offer a chance for them to meet new friends.
  10. Schedule Skype calls with your children’s dearest friends, the best way for them to keep in touch with their old friends. With Skype, distance dissolves.

All that’s left is for you to start living normally, getting back to the routine of life. The sooner the family returns to a routine, the sooner children will adapt to their new home.

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