Helping Kids Cope

Discuss the move in an open family forum:
Break the news about the move to everyone in the family together, and focus on the "when," "where," "how" and "why" of the moving process. Be sure your child understands that the move is a positive event for the whole family.  

Make new friends but keep the old:
Before the move, give your children an opportunity to spend time with their friends to say goodbye. 

Involve the kids in the moving process:
Ask your children to help you plan the route your family will take to your new home. When the van operator arrives, introduce him or her to the children. For safety reasons, make sure your children understand the importance of staying clear of the driver's path when he or she is moving boxes and furniture into the van. Other ideas include making a game of navigating the best route to travel in an atlas or on a road map or letting your children decorate and label their own boxes and pack their "special belongings."  

Alleviate fears:
If possible, take the children to see their new home and neighborhood in advance. This will help to take the "mystery" out of the move. Introducing your children to their new neighbors will reassure them that they will make new friends after the move. If it is not possible to go to your new neighborhood, try to compile as much information about the neighborhood as you can. The Internet can offer a wealth of resources. Also, try to get a couple of photographs of your new home and surroundings (ask your real estate agent to help), and share all of the information with your children.  

Pursue new activities:
Help your kids to make new friends by getting them involved in extracurricular activities in their new neighborhood. Sports leagues, community kids' clubs and classes specific to your child's interests will keep them busy and make them feel more at home in their new surroundings.  

Once you have arrived at the new address, let your children pick their favorite restaurant, type of food or activity to "celebrate" their help in making the move successful and the beginning of a new adventure.