- This will help you reach a consensus on some of the things you all want from your new home: a bigger backyard, a basement playroom, separate rooms for the kids. For Jennifer Thompson’s daughter Raegan, 5, the beach was tops. “My husband’s new job was in Jacksonville, North Carolina, but we chose a house in Emerald Isle -- a 30-minute commute for him -- so we could be near the water,” says Thompson
Children feel powerless when you tell them you’re moving. “They usually don’t have any input in the decision,” says Lori Collins Burgan, social worker and author of Moving with Kids. “So involve them in as many other decisions as you can.”
Make a family wish list
This will help you reach a consensus on some of the things you all want from your new home: a bigger backyard, a basement playroom, separate rooms for the kids. For Jennifer Thompson’s daughter Raegan, 5, the beach was tops. “My husband’s new job was in Jacksonville, North Carolina, but we chose a house in Emerald Isle -- a 30-minute commute for him -- so we could be near the water,” says Thompson.
If it’s practical, take your children to see prospective houses with you. If you’re searching online, bookmark your favorites so your kids can take a look.
Let her map out her new room Bring home paint swatches so that your child can choose a color. Then make it an art project: Have her paste snapshots of her bed and furniture onto a sheet of construction paper.
Pack a treasure box
Give your child his own packing box that he can decorate with stickers and use for his favorite things. Take it in the car with you so he can keep it close.
Throw a goodbye party
“It will bring closure to the friendships you’re leaving behind,” Burgan says. Keep it simple: a basic chips-and-dips affair or a potluck.
Tour your old haunts
Visit special neighborhood spots one last time before you move. “My sons Alex, 8, and Andrew, 6, had become really close to their babysitters,” says Jeanhee Hoffman, from Honolulu. “So before we moved we arranged for the sitters to spend time with the boys and take them to say goodbye to their favorite places.”
Make a memory book
Your child can fill it with photos of your home and her friends, along with their e-mail addresses.
Say goodbye to your home
During a family meal ask each kid to recall a favorite memory in the old house.
Helping your child adjust to sleeping in her new room
Your child is bound to be anxious the first few nights. Unpacking her box of special belongings as soon as she arrives will make her feel more at home. Carole Conner, from Knoxville, Tennessee, found this worked well with her boys, Daniel, 7, and Seth, 5. “As soon as they pulled out their favorite toys the new house wasn’t quite as foreign to them,” she said. While you unpack, point out what’s better about her new room: “It’s so much bigger; those shelves are perfect for your books.” It will also make her feel more comfortable if she knows the lay of the land. Walk her to your bedroom and the bathroom and point out the light switches in case she gets up at night (use night-lights along the route to the bathroom). And even on that hectic first day, try to stick to her routine and bedtime. If she cries or comes out to find you, remind her that this is her bedroom now and she needs to sleep here.
Moving-Day survival kit
Pack these items in your car
Drinks and snacks in a cooler
Mealtime must-haves like paper towels, disposable plates, utensils.
Bathroom basics including toilet paper, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste.
Change of clothes and a plastic bag for laundry. Important documents such as medical records, passports, lease agreement.
Handy extras like a flashlight, tool kit, matches, scissors, pencils, trash bags.
Preparing them for new school
Switching schools can be scary. Be positive about it and she’ll take her cues from you.
Do help her break the ice. Get a class list from the school office and arrange some playdates with your child’s new classmates.
Don’t wait until the school year starts to get informed. Inquire about the curriculum, lunch program, and after-school activities so you can help your child get excited about going to school.
Do take a tour of the building. If you move during summer vacation, your child’s new school may have a “meet the teacher” session before the school year starts.