For the second time in as many years, I’ve completely uprooted my life. It’s a big adjustment, this taking your life down a completely different path. And when I’m standing in the middle of the chaos trying to remember which box my Crockpot is in and WHERE THE HECK ARE MY WINE GLASSES, I try to step back and remember that I have a little person trying to make sense of it all too. For anyone who’s had to move with kids, they know exactly what I am talking about.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from putting my almost-five-year-old through the paces of a major move, it’s that kids are incredibly resilient. But they’re also kids. And stability? That’s the secret to all good things. There is exactly no stability associated with an inter-provincial move, including a new job, new preschool, new house, oh – and a new language. Heh.
If you’re in the midst of a small-scale (like, house-to-house within a city) or a cross-Country move, take a deep breath and consider these simple rules for keeping the kiddos calm when you’re in the middle of chaos.
Let Your Kid Call The Shots
I’m not the most patient person, even when everything is going smoothly. When my son and I first moved to Halifax from Cape Breton, he was only three years old. He couldn’t tell me how he was feeling, so when he threw complete temper tantrums over nothing, I often felt like I’d lose my cool. For the first few weeks this time around, I’m following his cues. The world won’t implode because that box doesn’t get unpacked right this second.
Set A Schedule Sooner Rather Than Later
When possible, get Junior back into a routine pronto – even if it’s just sticking to your regular dinnertime. The sooner things feel stable, the sooner they’ll feel safe and secure. You can also try setting their room up first – and letting them be the primary decorator. The more quickly it feels like home, the closer you all are to it being home.
When All Else Fails, Make It An Adventure
Sleep on the couch one or two nights. Camp out in the living room and have popcorn for dinner. Laugh, and be silly. Enjoy these moments, because even in the midst of the craziness, there’s fun and magic to be had and you are making memories that will last forever.