Real Estate 101 - Moving With Young Children

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Specialists

You’ve suffered through the decision to sell, accepted an offer and now it’s time to move on.  For an adult the prospect of moving can be somewhat scary, but for children it can be absolutely frightening.






There is possibly nothing more frightening to a child than the unknown and moving away is a trip to the unknown.  Up to now there’s been a feeling of security because the children know their day always ended at home - the home they knew and loved perhaps all their lives.


Preparing them for the move is important and good preparation may even turn the moving experience into something of a new adventure.





How do you begin?  Your best bet is to talk to each child, explain the reason for the move and how they can help make it a success.  Remember to do so at their level of understanding and, most importantly, encourage them to tell you exactly what they feel so that you know their concerns.  The more you know about the way they feel, the more you will be able to make them feel better.


You may realize that younger children have no experience in saying good-bye  and that it’s a new experience.  Without your help you may experience the tears, tantrums and frustrations that children who are afraid often show.  You want a successful and happy move, but it won’t be if you don’t work with your kids on making it so.  




Children are adaptable and talking with them, discussing the coming move, involving them in it and allowing them to help goes a long way. As parents, you’re involved with the details of buying one house and selling another, of arranging for movers, of deciding what to take  and what to leave, and many other details.  You might not even realize that the kids have gotten lost in the shuffle and that is not good.  No matter how busy you are, make sure you allow all the time they need so emotional support is given to them.


Here are some ideas:

  • When you decide to move, tell the children why the move is being made. Open communication at this point is important because if they believe the move is being hidden from them they’ll feel left out and uncertain.  Involve them in the move by taking them with you to view prospective new homes, by driving around and familiarizing them with their new school.


If they know where they’re going, their fear will be lessened.  If it’s a far away move, getting pictures of the new location is important. 

  • Children easily read their parents’ feelings.  It is important to show you’re happy and positive about the move.  If they sense fear or uncertainty in you, they’ll be fearful and uncertain, certainly not what should be. 




  • If you sense your children are negative in any way, try to get them to verbalize their feelings and discuss them openly.  Yes, they will have to leave old friends, schools and neighborhoods behind, but get them to anticipate the new friendships and fun that await them at their new home.  Make the move a family project, involve them and take a positive approach.  
  • Let them decide what they want to pack and how they’re going to pack it.  Give them boxes to put their treasures in, ensure their boxes go directly into their new room upon arrival at the new home, have a good-bye where they can hand out their new address to their friends and have them encourage their friends to come and visit.




  • When they arrive at their new home allow them to sort their own possessions and try to keep their schedules as normal as possible.  You should also encourage them to invite new acquaintances to their new home, invite the neighbors and their family members.
  • Most importantly, make sure you are available to give as much encouragement as possible and to help them to adapt.  Your availability will give them the assurance that you are there in case they need you.  
  • Sometimes children understand better if something is explained to them in the form of a story.  Go to your nearest library or book store and pick up one or more books on the subject.  Some titles to try- Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan Berenstain; Goodbye House by Frank Asch; I’m Not Moving, Mama! by Nancy White Carlstrom, and Between Friends by Sheila Garrigue.




Your children just might look forward to the moving experience.  I gave my 34 year old son a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go when he moved away to university - it still moves with him!


  • Finally, be aware that however stressful moving is for parents its many times more stressful for young children.  Keep that in mind and it will help you react to the stresses your children are feeling and ensure that they are reasonably optimistic about the move.





Remember, the more your know about factors affecting real estate transactions the wiser your purchase or sale will be. 


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Remember, the more you know about factors affecting real estate transactions, the wiser your purchase or sale will be!

Comments (1)

Joyce Herr
Prudential Lancaster Real Estate - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County & Beyond

I like the list - and including children in the move is so important - esp the older they become. Starting a new school can be terrifying. Be there for them and listen to them. It will make the move easier for all.

Mar 15, 2011 05:08 AM