How I Prepared My Kids Emotionally for a Cross-Country Move!

Preparing kids Emotionally to move and pack their toys up.

We just moved across the country from the West Coast to the East Coast. Yes, that is a huge move for us.

When we first thought about moving back in August, I knew that we needed to start preparing my kids with the idea of moving.

Especially my oldest who is almost 8. She really does not like change. It is hard on her.

I know all children are different, but for my oldest, she really needs time to think about and absorb what is going on to make it less upsetting for her. So, we started preparing the kids right away.

Even though we didn’t even have any concrete plans to move yet, we wanted to give our kids plenty of time to become accustomed to the idea of moving.

We wanted to move because our house was getting a bit small for us. So, we wanted a 4-bedroom house. Which makes sense for us, since we have 4 kids.

We love our triple bunk bed in our girls’ room and it is fantastic with our 10-foot ceiling, but we still wanted more space as the kids got bigger.

I’ve always wanted to move to the East Coast.

I grew up there and really wanted my kids to see the beauty there, which is a different beauty than the desert. I just love all the green and the trees. Also, I have some family over there which we would love to be able to see more often.

Here are some ways I Prepared my Kids Emotionally for a Cross-Country Move:

Talk about it and Keep kids in the Loop!

To prepare my kids, I started early and told them we were planning on moving once their dad finds a new job. We don’t know when that will be but he is applying for jobs now.

Whenever my oldest asks us about the job search, we were honest about it. We would say, Daddy has an interview here and we don’t know if he has the job. If he does, we will let you know. So, when he did get the job, they weren’t blindsided since they knew he had an interview and that was a good thing.

We answered any question she had or any of my kids had about moving.

We did a lot of talking about it.

Every kid is different and you know your kid best. It might make your kid more anxious to know about moving so far in advance. You might choose to wait until you know your moving or when you know it will be in the next few months. Or maybe your kids are like mine and need the time to really process it and think about it.

Springing it on my oldest a month in advance would be very unsettling for her.

You know your children best and when to start talking about it. I suggest don’t spring it on them last minute, but again, you know your child best and what would make the transition easiest on them.

Talk About the Specifics of How Moving Will Work!

We even talked about the actual trip and our plans for moving everything in the house and how we would get across the country. In our case, me driving our mini van with the kids and my husband driving a Penske truck while towing his car.

On a side note, we had such a great experience with Penske. I really recommend calling in to get a quote. Seriously, it was a great experience!

Since we were doing a self-move, we talked about how we are going to pack the house, but they would get to choose some toys and books to go in the car with them.

It is normal for kids to get concerned that some of their favorite toys would get lost in the move. We made it clear that was really not likely since we will pack the toys and put them in the moving truck and drive it across the country. So, it is very unlikely that their toys or anything important would get lost.

I would also remind them that all our stuff is getting packed away also, but I am confidant everything ours would be okay.

We also talked about the specifics of our trip driving across the country once the move became official.

Be Positive and Talk About How Fun and Adventurous it Will Be!

I also was very positive about the move and talked about all the new and fun things that would happen. I talked about some fun things I thought my kids would enjoy, like having snow and being able to play in it. Being closer to family and cousins. My oldest will have her own room. My son will also and my 2 youngest girls will share the room.

We talked a lot about the new things we would also get to do, like new areas to explore, waterfalls to hike to, sightseeing, and things like that.

Listen and Validate All Feelings!

I listen and validated how my kids were feeling about the move. They felt sad about leaving friends and teachers, concerned about how their new school will be. Will they make new friends? They told me all the things they would miss. I listened to them and told them it is okay to feel all those ways. It was even okay to feel angry about moving.

I was also very open and honest about how I felt about moving. I would tell them when they talked about being sad about missing friends, that I was also sad to leave my friends. That I would miss them. It is okay to feel sad. Then after a bit, I would mention all the things I was excited about for the move

Doing these things really did help my kids with the idea of moving.

This was a continuous conversation we had from time to time over the last few months as my kids wanted to talk about it.

Yes, it was hard on them.

They were excited to move and be close to family and be able to do all the other fun things we talked about, but at the same time sad about leaving friends and all the things that were familiar to them.

Honestly, so far moving has been so fun for them, even with the hardship of missing friends. They have loved being with grandparents and playing with cousins, now that they are a lot closer.

We are still adjusting, but I am so proud of how my kids have handled the move. Yes, they did get upset sometimes, but that is okay! This was a huge transition for them and they are really doing great and focusing on a lot of the positives.

How did you help prepare your child for a move?

Let me know in the comments and follow me on Pinterest.

Check out my other post about moving:

Moving is a Family Adventure!

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