President’s Column, Texas Association of REALTORS®
Help prepare your kids for a move
Moving is one of the most stressful things that we do. In fact, studies show that only serious events like death of an immediate family member, divorce or job loss rank higher on the stress scale than moving does.
As difficult as it can be for adults, it’s also very hard on kids. Children are creatures of habit. Any disturbance in the routine will prompt a reaction, whether it’s a teenager rebelling or a four-year old pitching a fit. It’s normal for them to feel apprehensive and anxious – make sure they know that.
Talk to children about what to expect, answer questions, share your feelings and encourage them to share theirs. Make sure they know they can come to you at any time.
The prospect of being uprooted from school, sports teams, friends and a familiar house can be traumatic, and the longer your children have been building relationships, the more upset they will likely be. Let them know that you can and will help them through the transition. Every child is different, but overall, kids are pretty resilient – they just need time to warm up to new ideas and get adjusted to major changes in their lives.
Let them know why the family is moving and put the date of your move on the family calendar for all to see.
All is not lost
Remind them that the moving doesn’t mean they’re going to lose touch with their friends. They can still keep in contact via e-mail, text message, or other means of communication … and yes, snail mail still works. You may also want to arrange a visit where your child’s friend comes to the new house after you’ve settled in a bit.
Be a role model
Kids pick up on their parents’ emotion and state of mind. If you’re frantic and nervous about the move, they will be too. If you keep it together and express confidence, your kids will likely follow your lead.
Concentrate on all the opportunities and emphasize all new experiences that lie ahead. This is an exciting time.
Let them help
If it’s practical, let the kids participate during the home search. Encourage them to ask questions – sometimes kids ask the most insightful questions. Look at the house through their eyes and try to think of their concerns. Take extra time to show them where their room will be, and ask them to think about where they want their furniture.
Pick it up, pack it in
Packing is never fun, nor is it tremendously exciting. Younger kids in particular may need a little help understanding the concept. Let them know you’re not throwing away toys; you’re just making sure that they’re packed safely away and that they’ll be available when you get to the new place. Let them write their names on the boxes with colorful magic markers or crayons.
One tip that can really help, no matter the age, is to have a box with just their “important” stuff. This box may contain music, pictures, a favorite book, a stuffed animal or any other valued item. If possible, it should stay with the family during the move, or if it must go with the movers, unpack it first to create a level of comfort and familiarity on the first night in the new house.
What’s it like?
If you’re moving to a new city or state, show them where you’re going to live on a map. Also, use the Internet to find kid-friendly attractions and other information about your new town. Allow them to get excited, as this may help counteract some of their nerves.
It also helps to get your family back into a comfortable routine as quickly as possible.
Undoubtedly, your child will be very interested in his or her new school. What are the kids like? Will the teachers be mean? You can’t definitively answer questions like this, but you can find out things like the school colors and mascot and any extracurricular activities that are available.
Fitting in is very important to kids, and clothing can be a huge part of that. Spend some time observing the fashion trends, which can vary dramatically between communities.
We can do it
Moving can be a stressful experience for kids, but as a parent, you can alleviate some of the anxiety by being honest, answering questions and involving them in the process.
Ask your Texas Realtor if she has some additional advice or resources for you that can help ease the transition into your new community. As an expert in the real estate industry, she has likely helped another family through a similar situation.
For more information about real estate in the Lone Star State, or to find a Texas REALTOR®, I encourage you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.
Submitted by Amy DuBose
Association Executive – San Marcos Area Board of REALTORS®