Tips to Making a Move Less Scary for Kids

By Whitney Novitsky

“Hey kids, it’s time for our next adventure.” My brother and I knew what that meant – we were going to be moving…again.  My family made 6 moves across states while I was school age and navigated 2 kids in and out of schools pretty successfully.  I won’t say there weren’t any tears along the way because as I got older it became harder to leave familiar areas, sports teams I had grown to love and friends with whom I had created memories and bonds. However, with my parents lead, I was able to make the best of each move and look back over the experiences pretty positively.

A little background – My parents made at least 15 moves together – some from being in the miliary and then in civilian work life.  My mom and dad were conditioned to picking up and moving when the job demanded. With remote working becoming more prevalent in our society, this is not the case for many of us, thus making a move seem even scarier, upsetting and overwhelming than it truly has to be.

Here are my tips to making a move from a kid who did it many times and turned out just fine!

  1. Give the kids ample time to digest the news. My parents never hid the fact that a change was coming. They did a great job giving us time to digest the news. They also made sure our teachers knew ahead of time and could be part of the process. We had going away parties in class and passed around a journal where friends could write messages and their addresses for letters and staying in touch. Now the kids would use email or social connections, but the purpose is the same. We also buried time capsules with friends and just had special time before saying goodbye.
  2. Deliver the news in a positive manner. “It’s time for another adventure,” was the line my mom used. She made it exciting as if we were going to get to do some fun, new things.  My parents talked about what there was to do in the new area that we currently didn’t have.
  3. Include kids in the house hunting process. Many times my parents flew to the new area for a week, house hunted and came home with a new home under contract. What they did do was bring the camcorder (wow, now I’m aging myself 😊). When they returned home we would all gather and look at the new home and get excited about which bedroom was ours. Of course technology now makes this process even more fun and interactive with Facetime, but again, the underlying purpose is the same: involve the kids and get everyone excited.  And it doesn’t matter if you are purchasing or renting. This is your next home so make it special.
  4. Setup the home quickly. I remember moving into a new home just a couple weeks before Christmas. We never had any family where we lived so it almost always fell on my mom while my dad worked. My mom worked tirelessly to get that tree up and decorated.  She had also done all the catalogue shopping before the move knowing there wouldn’t be time. I think back about that now as an adult and all the work she did to ensure we were ok with a big move. Our rooms were also set up first with our familiar things. I’m not talking about being perfectly decorated, but our familiar things. My parents made sure our boxes when on the truck last so they would be first unpacked. We also had a box of personal items for the drive down.
  5. Get the Kids Involved. I was signed up for softball and Girl Scouts immediately upon moving. It forced me to meet other kids which is really the ticket to a ‘new kid’ feeling happy in a new area.
  6. Give It Time. Making friends and feeling ‘at home’ takes time. My mom always said it takes 2 years to full immerse and feel a part of a new community.  And she was always right! She also encouraged us to invite friends over to play rather than waiting to be invited. Learn to take initiative was something I learned early.

Overall, I look back over my childhood of moves and see it as a very positive experience.  I’m adaptable, resourceful and not scared of new scenarios. I think this is one of the reasons I feel so compelled to work with families relocating to the greater Raleigh area.  I’ve been in those shoes many times…it can be scary….but it can also be an awesome new adventure!

**Here are some books to help children deal with a big move**

  • The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • My Very Exciting, Sorta Scary, Big Move: A Workbook for Children Moving to a New Home by Lori Attanasio Woodring
  • The Good-Pie Party by Liz Garton Scanlon and Kady MacDonald Denton
  • Little Critter: We Are Moving by Mercer Mayer
  • Moving House by Anne Civardi and Stephen Cartwright
  • Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst, Ray Cruz, and Robin Preiss Glasser
  • I Like Where I Am by Jessica Harper

Thinking of moving to the Triangle Area?

Reach out to Whitney Novitsky at 704-608-0519 or email her at or check her out on Facebook .

3 thoughts on “Tips to Making a Move Less Scary for Kids

  1. Hello! This is a great article and fantastic topic to address. I also wrote a Story and Coloring book called “Breathe Through the Move” for children of all ages (including adults) to learn how important breathing is for getting through tough times. has the link on the front page to order, or message me on Facebook or Instagram (@KellyLaneYoga) to have them sent right out to you. Namaste and good luck on the move, everyone.

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