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In a recent study conducted in the UK, ⅔ of adults found moving to be the most stressful life event, with more than half of 2,000 participants saying, “Relationship breakdown, divorce and starting a new job were all joint second.” While most can agree that moving has emotional challenges, a majority of individuals do not consider the negative health implications of moving on children.

With work schedules more relaxed and children home from school, summer provides a unique opportunity for a family to sell their home and search for a new one. However, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, children “…who moved during their childhood exhibited an overall higher rate of attempted suicides, violence, criminality, mental illness and substance abuse.” And though this study mainly referred to children who moved frequently, it’s impossible to ignore the anxiety associated with moving from a childhood home.

If you are one of the many families making a move this summer, you may be wondering how you can help make this process easier for your children. Here are 5 simple ways to engage your child, making your move an exciting adventure for all!

1.) Make a wish list and hunt together

Include your children in the house hunting process by having them state what they want in a new home or neighborhood, and then point out those qualities when you begin your search for a place. When you do find the house that works for you, let them get creative and map out what they would like to do within their rooms, making them feel in control.

2.) Make a memory box

Talk about some of the fun memories you’ve had within your home and create a treasure box of keepsakes for you to bring into your new one. If your kids feel compelled, allow them to say goodbye to their current home, writing a note to it or singing a song. They can even leave a note for the new owners telling them just how much they loved living there and how they hope their family is happy there too.

3.) Visit often

Take your child for walks in your new neighborhood to see their new house, making them feel secure within their new setting. If you are moving far and this isn’t an option, do tours online and get some books about your new state from your local library to make your new location seem more familiar.

4.) Keep things close

Be sure to have a comfort toy or a box of comforting items on hand or ready to be unpacked first thing. Seeing familiar items will provide your child with a sense of security as they may feel uneasy in a new setting.

4.) Make things less chaotic on your end

The majority of the packing will fall on you, the parents. Be joyful through it, helping your kids feed off of your positive energy. You can also have your kids color-coordinate boxes for you to keep in self-storage as a means of having them involved. Best of all, by keeping boxes in storage, your home will feel less chaotic, allowing you to pack and unpack in an organized manner.

Remember, every child reacts differently, so be sensitive to their needs. As always, if you feel your child is taking things to an extreme level, finding a counselor to speak with is strongly suggested.

To a happy new home!