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Moving can be tough on kids—here's how to make it easier

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Moving is as exciting as it is stressful, and not just for the adults involved; changing homes can have a significant impact on children as well.

In order to ease the transition, the Deseret News has teamed up with LDSAgents.com to bring you some tips on how to make moving easier on your children.

Help reduce their stress

Whether you are moving across the country or across town, talk to your children about the changes that will occur. A long-distance move often brings a new climate and setting, but it also brings new neighborhood kids, school and culture. And while a shorter move may not bring as many changes, having to sleep in a strange room in a strange neighborhood can also bring about feelings of anxiety.

If you're moving across town, help prepare your children by taking them to visit the new house (or watch it being built) and explore the new neighborhood.

For long-distance moves, research the area as a family. Use Google maps and take a tour of where you are going to live, work and go to school. Your real estate agent can be a good resource for parks and activities.

More than anything, let your children know you are doing this as a family and that you’re there for them during the move.

Be sensitive to their feelings

As the parent, moving could be something you’ve looked forward to for a long time. Perhaps the move represents an exciting change in occupation or a change in scenery you’ve longed for. However, not seeing your children share in your joy could be difficult. You may even find yourself trying to convince them that the move is for the better, so give them something to look forward to.

The fact of the matter is this: change is always unnerving. And according to Barbara Hey of Parenting.com, how a child reacts depends on her personality and age.

“Some kids adapt quickly and effortlessly; some take a whole year; others seem fine at first but may have a delayed reaction," she said.

Be sensitive to the feelings your children are having by not dismissing them, but validating them as normal and OK to have.

Make the new home feel familiar

As much as you may want to start fresh in your new home with new decor, bringing a touch of the old home to the new one will actually ease the transition. If your child wants to keep their room set up similarly to the last one (at least for the first while), let them. This will help bring some familiarity to an unfamiliar place.

If you’re worried about your children’s reaction to moving into an empty home, Leslie Levine, author of "Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home?" says to purchase some familiar toys and have your realtor place them in a room so that when you walk into the empty home, it will have a touch of familiarity.

Get them involved in the community

Making friends is one of the best ways to feel comfortable in a new place. In order to do this, it is important that you get your family involved in the community.

Sign your kids up for recreational sports, find an art class or look for playgroups in your area. If nothing else, getting involved in your local church group will help both you and your children feel a part of a familiar community in an unfamiliar place.

Expect regression

One year ago, Adam Brown moved across the country from Utah to Virginia with his wife and seven children. He said that there are still times when his older children will make mention of the difficult move.

“My oldest daughter has many friends in our new neighborhood, but when times get tough, she will say things like, ‘If we would have just stayed, this wouldn’t have happened.’ I validate her feelings, and it isn’t long before she is back playing with her new friends,” he said.

A temporary regression is a natural way for young kids to deal with a stressful situation, so take it all in stride, knowing that it will pass.

Keep it positive, not miserable

Even the smoothest of moves will have bumps along the way. In order to make the bumps less impactful, it is important to keep things positive. Set the stage for your kids. If you are miserable, your children will be miserable too. If you are happy and have a positive outlook, your children can pick up on that and could likely have more good days than bad.

Throw a going-away party for closure and have a house-warming party to mark the start of something new. Maintain old traditions and start some new ones.

If you keep it positive, in no time at all, your new house will become a home. There really is no other place like home!