Easing the transition of a Move
“Home is wherever you are… together.”
Moving can be quite stressful as it triggers the bittersweet memories within us of letting go and moving on. The mixed emotions in saying goodbye and starting fresh and new. Children may be hit hard as they adjust to changing homes, schools and friends. Some children embrace moving as an opportunity to make new friends and learn new things. Others might get anxious and develop behavioral issues while they struggle to adjust to the many changes.
Either way, there are things you can do to ease this transition, to make this an adventure and to use this experience as a platform for learning, growing and developing as a family system/unit.
Here are a few things to consider as you move through this major transition:
- Be mindful of your own personal, emotional experience with this change. Share your own feelings with a good listener, notice your mixed feelings of sadness, loss and grief as you release the old memories in order to welcome the new ones. If you have kids, they will sense your anxieties. Be honest with them; be authentic in your communications so that there is room for them to also express their feelings.
Tip: Be curious about discovering or incorporating an old tradition or ritual to help smooth the transition. There are some great ideas out there on cleansing your new home, transferring the old home’s positive essence into the new one, sage smudging, honoring the old and celebrating the new. Think about what activities might fit for you. Trust your heart and your intuition to guide you toward making this a peaceful transition. See below for more resources.
- Include your kids in as much as possible. Because children cannot choose whether or not to move, empower your kids to exercise some control. Perhaps they can have some say in the timing of the move or be given a special calendar to countdown and remind them of the timeline. How might they decorate their new bedroom? What activities might they get involved in? What necessary locations shall we visit first? (i.e. the local library, supermarket, pizza restaurant, playground).
- Set your Family’s Intention; what do we want this new experience to look like? What do we hope for? Moving is also an opportunity to create a new life. It can be what you make of it. Ask yourself, “If I had to do it all over again, what would I do different?” Things like getting to know your neighbors, reaching out more, being curious about what surrounds you, getting involved in the community, designing your living space differently, reserving spaces for your unique lifestyle preferences (i.e. meditation, prayer, sports, music, artistic/creative space, etc.).
- Give Special Time to your partner and kids. Amidst the chaos of moving, we might forget that our loved ones need nurturance, care, 1:1 time to just be and talk and relax TOGETHER. Be intentional about this quality time because it probably will not come easily. Make dates, reserve this space to care for what is most important—each other. Although there is so much to get done, it is important to remind one another of love and love=time.
Tips: Shower kids with bursts of your full attention; make special dates with your partner; enter into some playful time with your kids, let your kids take the powerful role/lead in the play.
- Take tangible keepsakes with you. Memories do fade. Hold onto keepsakes of the people and the memories that you cherish. It will help you remember the past and it will provide you comfort and warmth when you are missing those people and the times that were shared.
Tips: Create a memory book with letters from friends, take pictures of your old home; Create a T-shirt signed by friends.
A move always brings up some pain and sadness. Honor all of your feelings while embracing the opportunity to give yourself a fresh start, a new beginning.
“Moving with Kids,” by Lori Collins Burgan
“The Smudging and Blessings Book: Inspirational Rituals to Cleanse and Heal,” by Jane Alexander