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Preparing Your Kids for the Move

Telling the Kids You’re Moving

Moving Advice for All Ages
  • Tell them as soon as possible
  • Be positive about the move
  • Welcome their questions
  • Let them know how they can help
Moving Advice: Telling Young Children ( up to age 9)
  • Explain why you are moving
  • Show maps and pictures of your new place
  • Describe good things in store for them
  • Assure them things will stay the same as much as possible
Moving Advice: Telling Pre-teens and Teens
  • Give them lots of time to get used to the idea and to plan 
  • Be open and honest about why you are moving
  • Highlight benefits for them in a new place
  • Share move plans and timetable

What to Expect From Younger Children

  • Excitement: Give them age-appropriate moving tasks to sustain their anticipation. Such as assigning Job Badges
  • Curiosity: Share children’s books on moving to give them an idea of what’s ahead
    • Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day, By Stan Berenstain
    • I’m Not Moving, Mama, By Nancy White Calstrom
    • Who Will Be My Friends?, By Syd Hoff
  • Anxiety: Reassure with children’s books that focus on feelings sparked by a move
    • Alexander Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going To Move, By Judith Viorst
    • A Tiger Called Thomas, By Charlotte Zolotow
  • Sadness: Help them say good-bye and stay in touch with important people
    • Fun Address Book
    • Scrapbook Templates
  • Disappointment or Anger: Monitor their expectations to keep them in line with reality

What to Expect From Pre-Teens and Teens

  • Excitement: Give them responsible moving tasks and show your appreciation for their enthusiastic support
  • Curiosity: Allow them to explore information on the internet about their new community. For information on your new community visit http://www.bestplaces.net/
  • Anxiety: Finding out about the new school and community will help, as will ideas on how to address worries like staying in touch with close friends
  • Sadness: Be understanding and patient. They are grieving at having to leave good friends
  • Anger: give them space and time, acknowledging their feelings and working to keep communication lines open

Timing

Summer Move
  • Find out the start date of the next school year 
  • Plan ahead to identify summer activities where your kids can make new friends 
  • Enroll your children in their new school as soon as possible 
  • Visit the new school before the first day 
Moving During the School Year
  • If you are moving within commuting distance, weigh the pros and cons of having the kids finish the year in their current school
  • Prepare kids for a mid-year move 
    • Good-bye parties at school
    • Talk with teachers on how your child can make a smooth academic transition to his/her new school 
  • Visit the new school before their first day Visit the new school before their first day
  • Keep in regular contact with your child’s new teacher to check on his/her adjustment Keep in regular contact with your child’s new teacher to check on his/her adjustment
  • Consider the senior year of high school a special case 
    • He/she likely has a strong attachment to the school and teachers, as well as to friends.
    • Your senior also may need certain courses to graduate or may be taking college-level advanced placement (AP) courses that aren't offered in the new school
  • Find out about the school and community in advance 
  • Plan ahead to identify summer activities where your kids can make new friends 
  • Enroll your children in their new school as soon as possible 
  • Visit the new school before the first day 
  • Prepare kids for a mid-year move 
  • Visit the new school before their first day 
  • Keep in regular contact with your child’s new teacher to check on his/her adjustment 
  • Consider the senior year of high school a special case 
  • Find out about the school and community in advance 

10 Tips for Settling In

  • Make a positive good-bye to the old home and community
    • A few weeks before you move, hold an informal get-together for close friends and neighbors to say good-bye A few weeks before you move, hold an informal get-together for close friends and neighbors to say good-bye
    • As a family, make a point of visiting favorite restaurants and other special places one more time before you leave As a family, make a point of visiting favorite restaurants and other special places one more time before you leave 
    • When the house or apartment is empty, take a room-by-room "memory walk" with your children 
  • Plan a welcoming ritual for your new home 
    • If the kids are seeing the house for the first time, conduct a walk-through together to "meet" your new home before your belongings fill the rooms 
    • As a family, plant a tree or bush outside as a symbol that this is your home now As a family, plant a tree or bush outside as a symbol that this is your home now
    • Gather together to hang a family photograph or find a place for an object that is special to your family 
  • Have everyone’s "survival necessities" where you can find them immediately upon the arrival of your new home 
  • Re-establish family routines, like mealtimes and bedtimes, right away
  • Prioritize the unpacking process Prioritize the unpacking process
    • "You didn’t pack in a day so don’t try to unpack in a day!" 
    • Make your first priority to set up kids rooms so they can feel comfortable 
    • Allow the kids some say in setting up their bedroom 
    • Let them decide where their bed goes
    • Let them pick out a new rug or bedspread 
    • Help your children feel comfortable in their new bedrooms. 
  • Get familiar with the neighborhood such as planning a neighborhood Scavenger Hunt 
  • Introduce yourself to the neighbors by knocking on their door or sticking a friendly note in their mailbox 
  • Help your pets settle in
    • Your kids will feel more comfortable when they see that their pets are doing okay
    • Four-legged pets do best when you confine them to one room in the new home.
    •  Give them opportunities to explore further but don't push
    • Remember, "make new friends but keep the old" 

Virginia Tech Human Resources Department
300 Turner Street NW, Suite 2300 (0318)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-9331