So far, most of my Moving Blogs have been from my adult point of view. This one comes from WAY BACK when I was a kid moving around as well as how things worked (or didn't) with my kids when we moved. I hope some of my thoughts help you as you prepare your kids for your next move.
Keep Them In the Loop - A lot of times as parents, we don't give our kids all the details because we don't want to stress them out. On one hand, this is good (they don't need to know you are stressing about the cost of things, or the deadlines you have to get things done) but on the other, they will sense things are going on and letting them know about the move is a good thing. Let them know the time frame if you can, how you are getting to where you are going, about all the sorting/packing you will be doing, etc. Reassure them that though things may be changing, you will try to keep things as normal as possible and if they have any questions or worries to let you know.
Educate Them - This was a great one for me before one of my moves when I was a kid. I was 9 years old and found out we were moving half way across the country to Boston and I was upset about it. A teacher's aid pulled me aside in class one day and we looked up things about the area in the encyclopedia (I told you WAY BACK!). We looked at a map of the area, read about some of the history. It actually made me excited about where I was going! When we actually did move there, I remember learning about the American Revolution at school there not far from where a lot of things actually happened that I had read about! It really made things special for me--even though it was one of the hardest moves I ever did. Today we have so many things we can use to show our kids about a town or a place before they ever go there. Another big move, my parents were building a home in a different small town that I hadn't been too, and while they were waiting for their home to be done, they subscribed to the local newspaper--so they could learn about the community. Sometimes I read over those papers just to see about where I was going to be living. They also took pictures of the progress of the house during the times I couldn't go with them to see how things were going. Learning about each place didn't necessarily make the moves all A OK with me, but, it did make me feel a bit curious and safer knowing where I was going.
Give Them Some Choices - Make sure they have a bit of a say in what you pack for them--or get rid of. Maybe let them choose the paint color for their new room or what all will be packed with easy access for them during the trip. If you aren't moving far and they are in the new house with you several times, maybe let them have a choice about where their bed will sit, or maybe even which bedroom they want. Of course as the parent, you have the final say, but, the more they have a say, the more invested they will be and the easier it will be for them to adjust.
Prep Their School - A move can be stressful for a child and it may affect things at school. Prepare their teachers so that they can let you know if there are any issues going on. Also, letting their school and church know what is going on gives them time to prepare for them leaving too. Sometimes friends plan farewells and parties. I truly have some fond memories of those moments from when I was a child. It gives a child a chance to leave on a really happy note.
Be Patient - This one is a tough one. Stress causes all sorts of issues for parents, for kids--even for your pets! This is one of the hardest times to be patient with everyone and everything, but, it is a MUST if you really want things to go smoothly. If your kids know you are stressed, they may not interept it correctly and think something horrible is happening. Kids also don't always know how to express how they are feeling or even what they are feeling and sometimes this will lead to them acting out or being upset. Being patient with them and continually reassuring them that they are safe and ok will be the best course of action. Just stop and give them some quality alone time and it will help a thousand problems. Hugs help a lot too!
Help Them Say Goodbye - This one can break your heart. As adults, we have been through things already and we KNOW by experience that on the other side of some things we go through, that it all works out in the end. Kids don't. They are just experiencing all this stuff sometimes for the first time. Don't treat their feeling as trivial. Sometimes a move is so huge to them they don't know what they will do! Make sure they have time to spend with their friends, or family members they may be leaving. Make sure they can go to school as normally as possible and have those routines as much as possible until the very end. Make them feel that you think their feelings are as important as anything else that is going on. We as parents try to "blow things off" sometimes, when we just need to let them be upset for a bit. Let them cry if they need to or give them time to email or call their friends sometime. When I was a kid, we didn't have cell phones. When I moved far away, I couldn't call friends very often, but I could write them. A lot of times I lost touch with those I left, and I'm sure my mother knew I would move on, but, she never made me feel stupid for missing my friends. I always was able to "let go" on my own terms--and learn on my own time that life does move on.
As an adult, I don't know that I followed all my own advice so well. Some of these things I learned by making some mistakes along the way, and some of the hard things about moving I still wish I could have protected my kids from. But, change is a constant part of life. That lesson is a hard one to learn when you are growing up no matter where you live!