How to make moving to a new home easier on kids


Moving day can be a stressful experience for anyone, but especially for children who may not understand what’s happening. We have compiled the following tips to help parents prepare their young children for a move and to also help them adjust to their new home and community once the move has taken place.

  • Tell your children about the upcoming move as soon as possible. Waiting until the ‘For Sale’ sign appears on your lawn, or having your kids find out about the move from neighbours, will only leave them feeling left out.
  • Discuss with your children, in an age-appropriate manner, some of the pros and cons of moving. Most children get great comfort from simply being heard, and by being assured that their parents are committed to helping them adjust to a new environment.
  • Encourage your children to help you check out and get to know your new community. Calgary has its own websites which they use to advertise and promote life in their community: Life in Calgary, Tourism Calgary, City of Calgary. In addition to finding information on the area lifestyle, you should also find a list of the local amenities, such as schools, places of worship, recreation centres, community sports associations, and parks. Most community sites will also include locations of the nearest shopping malls, movie theatres, and special attractions such as water parks, horse stables, and public beaches.
  • When packing, resist the urge to throw out all of your children’s old, unused toys. Instead, ask your children to help you prepare for packing by separating their toys into three piles. Pile 1 comes with them to the new house. Pile 2 is for donating to a local shelter or community centre, and pile 3 is only for those toys that they understand are beyond repair, and for safety sake, should be thrown away.
  • Pack any young children’s belongings last; allowing them prolonged access to their familiar possessions reduces their anxiety. Ask your children to help you pack some of their belongings into boxes; and be sure to explain that the boxes, and every item that goes into the box, is going to be unpacked at the new house. Assemble some fun packing materials; a variety of brightly coloured (washable) markers for writing their name on each of their own boxes, bubble wrap for swaddling their dolls and soft toys, and a selection of stickers to decorate, and easily identify what is in each of their boxes.
  • Most kids make new friends at school fairly easily, but if your moving date is scheduled after the end of the school year, your child could be facing a long, lonely summer break. To keep your child from feeling isolated you will have to take steps to help him/her meet some new friends. Soon after moving into your new home, ask your neighbours if there are children of the same age close by. Ask those neighbours who have young children if they are interested in allowing your children to play together at the local park during supervised play dates.
  • Involve your children in deciding how to decorate their new bedrooms. Even the youngest child should have some of their ideas incorporated into the new design. Whether it’s a big decision (choosing the wall colour), or a small decision (selecting just the right spot for his/her toy box), giving your child “a say” helps them to embrace their new space.
  • Above all, keep the communication lines open – before, during, and after the move. Depending on the child, it can take anywhere from a few days to many months to adjust to their new surroundings.


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