Moving is a stressful process, but when you are a single parent, it can feel absolutely overwhelming. Trying to manage all of the normal pieces of moving with a child can be difficult when there are two parents sharing the load. Use this handy guide to help make sure the most important pieces are covered before you move.
You might feel like the right thing to do is to keep your child from having to do anything about the move, but getting to help might actually be reassuring for your child. Allow them to pack up some of their favorite toys or other comfort items on your moving day, and make sure that particular box goes in your car rather than a moving van or other vehicles.
By keeping familiar, special items close by, your child may feel more secure in the move. This is true for small children and older kids and teens as well, it’s just that the items might be different. While a small child might want their favorite stuffed animal close by, a teen might need their tablet or laptop, but the need is just as important.
Kids can feel overwhelmed if they’re moving away from familiar surroundings. One way to mitigate their nervousness is to take a trip to the new community and let them see the new house or apartment if possible. Even if you can’t tour the house for some reason, let them wander around the neighborhood. Plan ahead and find out where their school will be, but also look for things like a pizza shop, a park, a shopping area, and a movie theater. Anything that your child can get excited about will help them look at the move as an opportunity instead of a stressor.
You may feel like the right choice is to decorate their new room for them, but unless you’re absolutely sure that this is what your child would want, getting their help is probably the right move. Even if their participation is limited to choosing colors or picking out new bedding or curtains, letting them make those choices will help them have ownership of their new space.
For kids who are struggling with the emotional implications of their move, this can be particularly helpful. Feeling like they are in control of at least some small aspect of what is happening to them or around them can add some stability to otherwise concerning situation.
You’ve got enough on your plate if you’re managing your own feelings and your child’s feelings about your upcoming move. This is especially true if you need to manage factors like changing school districts, or longer commutes to see friends and family. Hiring movers or helpers will help you focus on your child, and making the move as smooth and painless as possible for the both of you. In many cases, hiring movers is not much more expensive than just renting a truck, especially when you consider the time you spend packing, loading, and unloading.
Instead of spending this time feeling overwhelmed and stressed, focus your energy on making the process of moving easier for your child and yourself. Hire movers to manage the heavy lifting.
Both you and your child may have a lot of different feelings about an upcoming move. You might feel good one day, frustrated the next, and incredibly sad at various points during both days. The best thing to do is to feel your feelings, and let your child feel theirs. Many parents try to show their child that they’re completely together and not at all concerned, but kids tend to know when their parents are upset.
Instead of trying to present a perfect facade to your child, let them see your emotions, and also let them see how you manage them. If you’re concerned about some aspect of your move – let them see you make a list, plan for contingencies, or contact someone who can help, for example. Modeling healthy ways to handle stress will be good for both of you, over time.
Moving with your child is never going to be easy when you are a single parent, but it also does not have to be so stressful that you want to give up. By planning ahead as much as possible, you can mitigate many of the concerns that single parents have coming into a big move with their child.Written by Margarita Hakobyan