November 25, 2022 Posted in Coping with Relocation
Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

The Ultimate Guide to Helping Kids Cope With Moving Across the Country

Are you about to move across the country with your kids? If so, you’re likely feeling a range of emotions – excitement, anticipation, and maybe even a little anxiety. Making a cross-country move is a big undertaking. Helping kids cope with moving is essential since it can be tough for them to adjust. But with careful preparation and planning, you can help make the transition easy for your family.

Kid running into a home and parents with boxes after a move with cross-country movers overlay
Here's how you can help your little ones adjust to the idea of relocating

Why Is Moving So Hard on Kids?

Once you start planning your move, there will suddenly be tons of tasks on your to-do list. While most people think that finding great cross-country movers (who provide professional long-distance moving services) is the hardest part, those who move with kids will know that the most challenging part is helping children cope with moving. For kids, uprooting and relocating to a new city can be a very difficult experience.

There’s a lot you need to know about children and moving – this is way more important than planning your relocation budget, trust us. Kids have to leave everything and everyone they know and start anew in a new state. This can be tough for even the most social of kids. What are some of the reasons why relocating is hard on kids, and what you as a parent can do to help them through this tough time?

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One of the hardest things for kids about relocating is saying goodbye to all their friends. They have to leave the people they have grown up with and start over in a new place where they don’t know anyone. This can be a really tough thing for kids to go through, especially for shy or introverted children. When you move, everything in your child’s world gets turned upside down. They have to adjust to a new house, new school, new neighborhood, and sometimes even a new climate.

All of these changes can be really overwhelming for kids, especially younger ones who thrive on routine. When kids move, they often feel like they are losing their identity. Everything that made them who they were is left behind in the old place – their favorite places to go, their former school, and their old friends. While all this can make you question your reasons for relocating, know that you can do a lot to make things better for your little ones when you move to a new home. Stay with us to find out what relocation hacks can help you.

Happy family with kids overlay
Helping a child cope with moving is an important task for every parent

Can Moving Cross Country Cause Depression in Kids?

You may wonder if relocating is really traumatic. Sure, you know it is difficult – it’s not easy for you either. You’re the one who has to think of everything, including finding a cross-country moving company. But how tough is it for kids to deal with relocation stress?

Believe it or not, sometimes, the effects of moving on a child can be more complex than just anxiety about the move. All of the factors we’ve mentioned above can contribute to depression after relocating for kids who are forced to move cross-country.

Signs Your Child May Be Depressed After the Move

There are a few key signs to look out for if you’re worried your child may be experiencing depression after the move. First, see if your child has withdrawn from activities they used to enjoy or lost interest in things they once cared about. Additionally, pay attention to whether your child has started having adjustment insomnia or trouble eating. Finally, watch out for any sudden changes in mood or behavior, such as increased irritability or sadness. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible.

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Relocating can even cause depression - be sure to look for the signs

Learn How to Talk With Kids About the Relocation

You may be preoccupied with researching cross-country moving companies, but you still need to find time to explain to the little ones what’s going on. Children are perceptive, so let them know as soon as possible about those whispered talks.

You don’t have to tell your child months in advance – just let them know when it becomes clear that you’re packing, getting ready for the big garage sale, and showing the house. Explain what will remain the same and what will change. Even if you are hesitant, it is important to portray the move positively because your youngster will imitate your actions.

If you have a toddler, you’ll have to work harder to explain things clearly. Depending on how communicative your toddler is, you should adjust how much you discuss the move with them. Using one of the stuffed toy animals may be a terrific way to explain things. Saying something like, “Hey Teddy, you will be getting a beautiful new home,” will make it easier for the little one to understand.

Don’t Get Offended by Their Reaction and Comments

When your child says something similar to “I will not move. I hate you, ” it’s simple to become defensive, especially when under pressure. You might want to respond by shouting, “You can’t speak to me like that!” Instead, empathize with them and pay attention to their feelings. You can also express ambivalence. “I’m looking forward to relocating, although I’ll miss our neighbors a lot.” They may be able to express their own sentiments better after understanding what you’re going through.

A parents and a children preparing for moving cross country overlay
How you tell kids about the move can have a big impact on their reaction

Utilize Different Techniques When Helping Kids Cope With Moving

If you wish to move efficiently, you will have to use a few tricks to ensure your kids are okay during relocation preparations. We’ve gathered a few of the best relocation tips on this topic, so be sure to take a moment to check them out. You never know which one will do the trick!

Take some time to cuddle

No matter how many trinkets are still left unpacked, a newborn doesn’t care. They need your focus. It will greatly affect how kids adjust if you’re able to be interactive and fun with them. So schedule plenty of time for hugs and tickles.

Pack up their room last and start unpacking it first

Experts concur that preparing the children’s rooms is an essential first-day objective after the move. They will have a safe place amidst the chaotic mess. Each youngster should have a backpack or small bag filled with goods they can’t live without to avoid tearing open everything to find their favorite bedside lamp.

Images are helpful for the little ones

For young children, seeing is believing. Pre-move visits to the new home or time spent playing in the new backyard are ideal. If it’s not possible, show them a video of your home or have them look at pictures.

Allow your kid to "assist" with packing

To make your preschooler feel like they are participating, give them the responsibility of packing up a few of their games or books. Kids can even assist in deciding what to keep and weeding out all the trash that is not worth relocating. This is great for their state of mind and can help you – even if you have packing assistance as a part of a cross-country moving service.

Organize your farewells

Giving children a sense of closure aids in their processing of these important developments. Ask your child if they would prefer to visit the playground with friends or create a souvenir they can keep.

Set up a child's email account

Your child can communicate more easily with the pals they’re leaving behind, thanks to technology. Establish an email account for them to use to submit notes and pictures if they don’t already have one. Promise them they’ll be able to hang out using FaceTime or Zoom. They can play online games together as a team. If at all possible, organizing a future visit to see a best friend who has been left behind can assist in preventing the feeling of an eternal goodbye.

How Does Moving a Lot Affect a Child and How to Make It Easier?

Relocating is at least less of a mystery next time you move. Make use of that knowledge to describe what lies ahead. If you encounter tears, resist the desire to promise that after this time, you will stay put for good. Instead, try to put a positive spin on it: “You did a terrific job last time, do you remember that?” Another relocation could trigger strong emotions, particularly if the older child is forced to say goodbye to friends they worked so hard to make the previous time. Here’s what you can do about it:

  • Make sure to impose constructive and healthy boundaries,
  • Don’t forget to remain reasonable, even if you feel guilty,
  • Keep your focus on the now and refrain from making commitments if you aren’t sure there won’t be any more relocations,
  • Be compassionate as they process their feelings,
  • If you are concerned about how your child is handling this difficult shift, keep a careful eye on their adjustment,
  • You can always speak to a school therapist or counselor if you’re worried about how your kid is taking this new change.

What Should You Do to Help Kids Adjust Once You Moved?

As soon as you’re settled in, take some time to explore your new neighborhood with your kids. Find the local parks, playgrounds, and libraries so they know where to go when they want to have some fun. This will help them feel more comfortable in their new environment and give them a sense of belonging.

Help Them Make New Friends

If your kids are having trouble making friends in a new city, there are a few things you can do to help. You can enroll them in extracurricular activities or sign them up for classes at the local community center. You can also reach out to other parents and set up playdates. The key is to be proactive and help your kids get involved in their new community. Check out the video below to see how you can help your little ones.

Relocating Can Be Tough for Children, But You Can Do a Lot to Help Them Adjust to This Change

Moving is hard on everyone in the family, but it can be especially tough for kids. They have to leave their friends, school, and everything they know behind and start over someplace new. By following our guide, you can make the transition smoother and help them adjust to this big life change.

And don’t forget – hiring professional long-distance movers is one of the best ways to manage stress during a move. With their help, your entire family will be able to relax and enjoy the process of relocating. So, don’t waste time – start searching for a long-distance moving company and let yourself experience effortless relocation with proper cross-country moving services.


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