A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Cope with Moving

by Dusty Rhodes on Feb 03, 2022  in 
  • Long Distance Move
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moving with kids

Moving is a big deal, even if you’re just moving across town. However, moving to a whole new city can be even more overwhelming for kids. It can be stressful to pack up everything they own and leave behind friends and all of their familiar comforts. While moving is necessary for many families, it can sometimes be challenging for children to adjust to a new environment and a new school. Transitioning to a new city is something that can take time and patience. Here is a helpful guide for parents to ease the transition.

Have an Open Discussion with Your Children

As soon as you know you will be moving, plan to sit down and talk about it with your children. Explain to them what will be happening and when they will be moving. Be prepared for your children to be sad, angry, or upset, as these are common reactions. It’s important to listen to your children and acknowledge their feelings. Remember, this was not their decision so they might feel worried about what this will mean for their life. Try to be patient and reassure them, but don’t talk them out of their feelings. Emphasize that the family will be going through this transition together and everyone will be there for each other.

Take Them to Visit

Moving to a new city can be challenging for children, especially if they have never been there before. It can be easy to tell kids all of the wonderful things about their new city, but it can be tough for them to imagine it. If possible, take your children on a visit to their new city before you move. Take them by and show them some potential neighborhoods or schools where they might go and show them some of the fun things there are to do in the city. Let them go with you to look at houses or apartments and include their input whenever possible. This will make them feel like they have some say in what is happening, which can help reduce anxiety.


It is especially helpful for children to get to visit their new school. This can help alleviate a great deal of stress and fear for your children. Take them on a tour and let them get a feel for what their new school is like. That way they won’t be walking into a completely unfamiliar place on their first day.

Include Them in Decisions

Children often feel powerless when it comes to moving, so let them make as many choices as possible. While the major decisions will clearly be up to you, find ways to help your children feel empowered. Here are some examples of decisions that children can help make:
- Which toys to keep and which to donate?

-Which bedroom they want and what color to paint it?

-Let them suggest a few must-haves for their new house

-Let them decide how to set up their new room.

-What do they want to do first when they get to their new city?

Host a Goodbye Party

One of the hardest parts of moving is saying goodbye to family and friends. You can help ease this transition by hosting a goodbye party for friends, family, classmates, and neighbors. Emphasize how easy it will be to keep in touch through phone calls, email, and letters. It can also be important to have one last celebration in your old house. Children often feel very attached to their homes so this is an important part of the grieving process for them. Take pictures of your old home and help your children make a memory book so they can always remember their house.

Set Up Your Kids’ Rooms First

Your children will adjust better when they have a safe space surrounded by familiar things. Therefore, make it a point to set up their rooms first. This will help them feel more excited about their new home while also providing a secure respite where they can go and relax while you continue organizing the rest of the house.

Plan Some Fun Activities When You Arrive at Your New Place

Although you will be eager to get in and start unpacking, resist the temptation and instead focus on connecting with your children through fun activities. For instance, find a nearby playground and have a picnic. Check out a local pizza restaurant. Take your kids to a local library to check out some new books to read while you are unpacking. You might even find a local museum or attraction that the kids could enjoy. Remember that you will have plenty of time to get unpacked but you only have so much time to make a good first impression with your kids.

Connect in Advance

Don’t wait until you move to make connections. You may not know anyone personally yet, but you can still find out about local sports programs, Scouts, art classes, music lessons, church groups, dance classes, etc. Social media can be a great tool for finding other like-minded parents. Share in a group that you are moving and ask for suggestions. Children will adjust more quickly when they have something to be part of right away.

Help Them Stay in Touch

It’s tough to stay in touch when our lives get busy, but this is an important part of your childrens’ transition. Make it a point to set up skype calls, FaceTime, email, or write to friends and family back home. In time, as your children meet new friends, they won’t focus as much on their old friends but they will cope better through a gradual process.





Dusty Rhodes