Top 9 Tips for Moving Into an Apartment Community with Kids
If you think moving is stressful for you, just imagine how hard it is on your child. Sure, you're the one handling all the details and expenses, but it's really scary for kids to leave behind their surroundings to go to an unfamiliar place. These tips will help ensure that moving is a smooth and positive transition for your kids.
Include Them From the Beginning - Don't wait until a week before moving day to spring the news on your child. They need time to mentally prepare, too. After you talk about the move, grab a pen and paper, and make a list of what you are both looking for in an apartment community. Obviously, you can't accommodate their wish for a treehouse or a big backyard, but perhaps you can look for a community with a pool and playground.
Visit Apartment Communities Together - If you can make your child think they made the final decision on your new home, they will be a little more eager to get there and settle in. Look at apartments together. Maybe ask how they want their furniture arranged in their bedroom or point out the cool view they have from their own window.
Explore the Area - Once you have officially picked out an apartment, spend a little time driving around the area to see what new amenities you can both look forward to. It's actually a little easier if you do this on your own first, and then pretend you have found that awesome playground or frozen yogurt place together. That way, they're not bored in the car by the time you find something. If your child takes dance class or loves video games, find the closest dance studio or arcade to show them that they will still be able to do their favorite activity in the new location.
Tour the Community Together - They know what the apartment looks like from the photos you've shown them, but go check out the community prior to moving in. Show them the pool, playground, playroom, etc. If there are a lot of residents with children, aim to visit on a weekend or after dinner when other kids are playing outside. Maybe your child will make a new friend before you even move in, so they will have someone to hang out with right away.
Give Them a Job - It's important to keep them invested in the move after you've picked out an apartment. Children like to feel needed. They want to contribute to the move, so consider letting them do things like pack their own toys. Alternatively, they can put color-coded stickers on boxes according to room for you, too. You may even want to make a small to-do list they are responsible for, reminding you do things like forward your mail or donate boxes of things you don't need.
Pack an Essentials Box Together - You may not be able to unpack everything right away. Help your child pack their essentials box to get them through at least the first 24 hours. Let them pick out their favorite toys, pajamas, etc. You might even want to sneak a new toy or book in there, so they will be surprised when they open it at the new place.
Consider Childcare - Even if your child seems excited about the move, they may also experience a lot of anxiety and mixed feelings seeing their things being carried out of their home. Plus, sometimes it's just easier to get through the moving process if they're not there. This would be a good time to arrange a playdate with a friend or let them spend time with their grandparents or favorite aunt.
Visit School - If your child is switching schools, it's helpful to arrange a visit prior to their first day of attendance. They will feel more comfortable about such a big change if they know how to get to their classroom and have already met their teachers.
Have a Party - You want to do something fun shortly after the move. You could have a sleepover or a small party at a local park. Invite some of their old friends, as well as new ones they've made at school or in the community.