Preparing Your Child for a Move

Sooner or later, many families face the prospect of moving. Disruptive as moving can be for parents, the experience can be even more traumatic for kids, who may not be a part of the decision to move and might not understand it.

Some children may need some extra time and maybe even some special attention during the transition.  Here are some tips to try and make the process less stressful for everyone.

The Decision to Move

Many children learn to depend on familiarity and routine.  Change can be difficult for them especially if it comes with other big changes such as divorce or death.  If possible give kids time to adjust and keep a positive attitude about the move even if you aren’t happy about it yourself.


Talking About the Move With Your Kids

No matter what the circumstances, the most important way to prepare kids for a move is to talk to them about it.

Give children as much information as possible.  Answer their questions completely and truthfully.  Respect the childs reactions to your answers.  Change can be frightening especially if they don’t understand it.

Involve children in the planning as much as possible.  This will make them feel like they are participating in the process and less like it’s being forced on them.

If possible, try to take the kids to visit the new house and explore the neighborhood.  If it’s not possible, show them on a map, through photos or use a program that they can see it through the internet.

Provide as much information as you can about the new home, city and state. Learn about the community together and find activities the kids can participate in.

After the Move

Try to get your childs room unpacked and in order before the rest of the house. 

Try to stay on any schedules you had prior to the move like meal times and bedtime.  This will help give the kids a sense of familiarity.

When your child is ready to start school it may help to go along to meet and introduce to your child his/her teachers or principal.

Have some realistic expectations about the transition.  Generally, teachers expect new kids to begin feeling comfortable in about 6 weeks.


A move can be challenging as well as rewarding.  The moving process can help families grow closer, build stronger relationships and provide family members with a chance to learn more about each other. Moving can give anyone, especially children, the opportunity for personal growth if approached with understanding and love.

For more information, age specific tips or additional resources visit:

Comment balloon 25 commentsJenifer Lower • January 22 2012 09:30PM


Hey Jenn, this is a great post and I bookmarked it for easy future reference as well as easy to forward to clients who will be going through this stressful time.


Posted by David Shamansky, Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg (US Mortgages - David Shamansky) about 7 years ago

Hi Jennifer.  Great post.  Suggested!   As many times as one thinks the kids understand, they may not.   Good advice.

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) about 7 years ago

We often forget the kids and their feelings as we work through all the details of a move.  Thanks for stopping in, and thanks so much for the suggest!

Posted by Jenifer Lower, Your Dream. Our Passion. (Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net) about 7 years ago

Hi Jenifer,  I suggested this post, it is so important to take care of the kids when it comes to new surrounding.  Have a great day!

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) about 7 years ago

Will, thanks so much!

Posted by Jenifer Lower, Your Dream. Our Passion. (Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net) about 7 years ago

Yeah, sometimes kids can get lost in the shuffle during a hectic move, so it's always good to involve them in it from the get go to relieve some of the inevitable stress...yours AND theirs! I reblogged this one!

Posted by Pat & Wayne Harriman, Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate (Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499) about 7 years ago

Hi Jenifer,

This is a great post, and good timing too. We will be moving soon and I didn't give it too much thought, other than how my first grader will adjust to the move. All three of my kids are excited and they have seen the house we picked out and chose their rooms. The advice you give for after the move is good. Kids thrive on routine. I wouldn't have thought to fix the kid's rooms first, I will now. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Andrea Lueth, REALTOR - Sugar Land Texas Homes for Sale (The Real Estate Experts) about 7 years ago

I moved often when my children were growing up--they often say their hometown is the USA.  Good stuff for every parent to read if a move is in their future.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) about 7 years ago

This is a great post. Even though we often make moves for the sake of our kids, they still need to be properly prepared.

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) about 7 years ago

Jenifer - that is a great post. We often forget how move can affect a child.

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) about 7 years ago

Sometimes buyers get worried about the kids and how they will adapt and in the end, kids are more flexible than we give them credit for. 

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) about 7 years ago

What a great list - it SO IMPORTANT not to foget the kids.  Thank you for putting this together.  I have bookmarked it so I can go back to it.  :)

Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) about 7 years ago

Very thoughtful post Jenifer! Given the hectic schedule of moving, kids seem to be forgotten sometimes.

Have an awesome day!

Posted by Michael S. Bolton, MN Appraiser (Michael S. Bolton,Inc.) about 7 years ago

Congrats on the feature! This is a great post. Moving is stressful for adults and often very scary for children, especially now with the decrease in incomes and increases in short sales and foreclosures. Thanks for sharing these great tips and have a wonderful week.

Posted by Laurie Clark CRB Angel Realty LLC Your Monument Realtor 719-502-6572, Angel Realty, LLC (CRB-CCSS-ASD-HBS-RSD-Denver Short Sale Agents) about 7 years ago

What great suggestions on a subject a lot of folks don't even think to address. It is imperative to involve the kids in the planning and work. It's their lives, too.


Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) about 7 years ago

If you prepare your child correctly it can help them settle into the new home very fast without much "trauma"! Thanks for posting!

Posted by Ben Blonder, Buyers, Sellers, Investors! (Broker/Owner, Keller Williams) about 7 years ago

My adult children still have angst about our move 18 years ago. Our house had been on the market for a couple of months when they left for a 30 visit to their out-of-state grandparents. Of course the house sold, AND we moved while they were gone. In a tough market like the one we sold in, you do what you have to do, but it wasn't easy for the kids.

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 7 years ago

This is a topic that I haven't given a whole lot of thought, so I definitely appreciated your perspective and tips on this process.

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Jenifer this is an excellent topic. Son many times in the rush and haste of moving I see children who look really scared and "lost" It is important to include them. Congratulations on your feature.

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) about 7 years ago

Hi Jenifer,

What a good post, its so true! Most folks are focused on the finances, finding the perfect home, selling theirs and completing the physical moving process. Once everything is said and done they look around and wonder why the kids are moping around.

I think the younger ones recover faster, its the teenagers that it can be so rough on. Being dropped into a new high school as the new kid is really tougher than we as adults realize.


Posted by Brent & Deb Wells, Prosper TX (LivingWell Properties) about 7 years ago

i remember when my parents moved myself and my four siblings right before i went into middle school. it was a scary time for me but the best decision they ever made for us! they took all five of us a tour of our new schools which helped ease the fear of it all.

Posted by Margie Kopp Sorrell, Lake Oconee Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country) about 7 years ago

Excellent post, Jenifer ... and something so important to those families facing a move.  I know when we did it years back, it was a very exciting but nervous time for our oldest.  Each child handles it differently and in another capacity.  I also had to check your post ... as I have a daughter-in-law that's name is the same.  I'll kid you by adding ... welcome to the family!  Hope to see more of you on the Rain ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 7 years ago

Wow!  Thank you so much to all of you.  I appreciate all of the comments and insights added to the post.  It is such a difficult time for the kids and we as adults do tend to forget to they have as much adjusting to do as we do.

Posted by Jenifer Lower, Your Dream. Our Passion. (Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net) about 7 years ago

Jenifer, these are great tips for parents.  I remember moving across the country with a young child.  It is a big adjustment for kids.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) about 7 years ago

Kids often get left out of most of the process of deciding to move and then moving.  Lost friends, different schools and neighborhoods can be tramatic. 

Posted by Doug Bullwinkel, Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #281609 (Envoy Mortgage, NMLS 6666) almost 7 years ago