So you’re moving to a new area. Maybe you have a new job, or you’re returning to your home town to care to be near family; maybe you’re just ready for a change. Whatever the reason for your move, you’ve had some level of choice in making the decision to relocate. In most cases, your children have NOT. Think about that for a minute. Even if, for you, this is an exciting new phase you’re looking forward to, your children may not feel the same way. Moving is scary! They will have to make new friends, figure out how to fit in at a new school, learn their new neighborhood, establish new “haunts”–and they don’t even have a say in this harebrained scheme! Or at least it may feel harebrained to them. You’re taking them away from their homes and the people and places that they feel safe and comfortable with. So celebrate that. What am I talking about?
I’m talking about honoring what they are leaving, instead of only asking them to embrace the new and unknown that’s ahead of them. Validate their feelings about missing their old friends and home and be sure that they understand that they will have visits, phone calls and other opportunities to stay connected. Make coupons for your kids for a trip to their favorite ice cream place or other destination in the hometown you’re leaving as a promise you’ll bring them back for a visit.
I always encourage my relocating sellers with kids (and without!) to have a “Goodbye Party”. Let the kids invite whomever they want to be sure to have a chance to say goodbye to. If you know where you’ll be living, give your kids stamped envelopes with the new address already pre-printed on it. They can hand them out to their friends and ask to be “pen pals”. Encourage them to exchange whatever contact (including social media) info they have, so they can post/see pictures of each other’s adventures.
- Do some research (which you’ll want to in order to get your kids excited anyway) about some of the most kid-friendly activities and attractions and print out a list with a map showing where you are leaving and where you are headed, and make sure your child gives them to all of their friends as a sort of “come visit” invitation. Enabling them to envision themselves as hosts in their new home may increase their level of “buy-in”. And if they can actually start working on plans to host a friend for a visit, they will feel much less estranged and probably a bit braver about making the move.
- Consider having the party at at well-loved location (whether it’s a park, or some other venue that they’ve been to for birthday parties or other happy occasions) for great memory-making advantages.
- Be sure to take LOTS of pictures/videos of your kids and their friends. One nice thing you can do with the pictures is use them to create a calendar you can order on line–then your child sees his friends every day!
- If there are special local foods in your area, be sure to feature them at the party.
- As a gift, before the party, give your kids a t-shirt or baseball cap with your hometown’s name printed on it and encourage them to wear them at the party. Ask the guests to do the same.
Remember–moving is tough. Even if you’re generally excited about a relocation, you probably have some misgivings, or at least worries about adjusting to your new home. Think how much harder it is for the kids you’re bringing with you who don’t get a vote (in most cases) and consider having a goodbye party for them to help ease the transition both in the moment and in the future. For more ideas on helping kids with a big move, click here.
If you are relocating to the Philadelphia/Main Line area, please go to my relocation tab. If you’d like to and read other blog entries related to relocation, please scroll down a couple of lines and click on RELOCATION (to the right of FILED UNDER). Thanks!