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Posted on November 24, 2015

The decision is now final. You’ve accepted the promotion and narrowed down the list of potential new homes, and you’ll be moving soon. Now comes the hardest part — planning the move and telling the kids. Whether moving out of state or just around the block, children and adolescents typically aren’t thrilled by such an event. In fact, they rarely relish change of this magnitude. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ease the transition. Your attitude about moving and your willingness to let your children share in the experience will influence their feelings.

Call a family meeting. Order some pizza and gather around the dining room table for a casual dinner and lots of conversation. If you’re moving because of a promotion or a new job, tell your children that you’re excited about it. Explain why you took it and how it will impact the entire family. Tell them how you feel about the move. Encourage them to express their feelings and concerns. If this is their first time moving, it could be particularly difficult because they’re leaving their family home. Share with them your first-move experience. Let them know you’ll be depending on them to help out during the move, from packing to settling in to the new place.

If possible, involve your children, especially if they’re older, in the selection process of the new home. Once you’ve narrowed the choices down to two or three houses, get some feedback from the kids. If where you’re moving to is within a reasonable driving distance, take them to see the homes. If you’re moving to another city, show them pictures of each home, describe the neighbourhoods in detail and, if you can, take a virtual tour online. Ask them to share their three favourite things about each house. Let them know you’ll take their comments into consideration when making the final decision. After you’ve picked the house, keep them posted through the process. Have a little celebration once you know you’ve got the house.

To get your children excited about the new house, make room plans. You don’t have to limit yourself to their rooms only. If they’re interested in helping arrange and decorate other rooms in the house, let them. Take a trip to the hardware store to look at paint swatches. If you’re going to purchase new furniture and the kids are interested, take them with you. For teenagers, set a budget and let them tackle their own rooms — picking out colours, linens, rugs and furniture. Encourage them to shop at consignment and thrift stores. For younger kids, you can set a budget and work with them on executing their vision. Then, when it’s all done, you can invite some family or friends over for a “big reveal” like they do on television shows.

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