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3 Stages of Moving with Preschoolers

by Margot F. | May 13th, 2014 | Preschool, Social

file0001207444674People move residences for a variety of reasons. Although for adults the process can be stressful, young children are also significantly impacted. How can a parent help a preschooler feel comfortable moving to a new home?

The parent’s attitude towards moving will set the tone for the rest of the family. Preschoolers pick up on emotions quickly, so even if a parent is unhappy to move, it is important for the sake of the child to present the new home in a positive light. There are three main stages to moving: before, during and after. Following a plan might help reduce everyone’s anxiety.

Before the move, talk to the child about the need to find a new home. Young children benefit from concrete information. Show a picture of the new home. Maybe there are pictures of the inside of the place on a realtor’s website. If possible, drive over to see the new home. Visit a nearby playground and try out the equipment.

When packing, have a box or two for the child to put in toys or books that are important to them. Avoid the temptation to “junk out” your child’s room. Toys, books and DVDs that have been ignored for months might reassure your child in the new home that despite the change, things will be all right.

Show on a calendar when you will actually move and count down the days together. Explain what will happen on the actual moving day. Have a bag packed with a few special toys that the child can keep with them. Arrange for a trusted adult to stay with the child during the move.

A young child might benefit from staying overnight with grandparents or a favorite relative the night before the move. This will ensure the child is safe and the parent can devote all their attention to the details about a move.

During the move, a five-year-old might want to see the moving truck pull up and take away the furniture. However, ensure the child is supervised at all times by a person not responsible for the move. After an hour or so, the child can go with the babysitter to the playground, have lunch and then be taken to the new home about dinner time.

After the move, unpack the child’s bedroom as early as possible so the child will feel welcome in the new home. Have a favorite dinner the first night or go to a nearby restaurant. It is important for the parent to be available for the child at this time. Try to keep to the same routine. At bedtime, read a story and then stay until the child falls asleep but avoid the temptation to have child sleep with you. In the long run, it is important for the child to feel comfortable in their new room.

Planning for the three stages of moving, namely, before, during and after, helps everyone feel comfortable in the new home.

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