Every real estate agent appreciates those clients who are willing to open their minds (and their wallets) to ready their homes for sale. So, here’s a big “Thank you!” to those of you who have taken my not-always-easy advice on how to make your home as marketable as possible. But moving isn’t all about the money. It’s an experience that can be fraught with emotion — especially when children are involved — and it’s my responsibility to help you through that too.
So, let’s step away from the steps and the staging and walkways and windows and walls and talk a little bit about the little people who are affected by moves in a very big way — your children.
I count even count the number of families I’ve helped relocate. But I can tell you that the ones who did it best, took their time. I don’t mean they moved slowly to buy or sell. I mean that they talked with their children from the outset and gave them time to think and feel and process the move.
You might think that telling your children too far in advance will just give them more time to worry. But the opposite is true. Just like you, kids need time to get used to the idea of moving. So, don’t delay the news and do welcome their questions. Questions will help you gauge how they feel about moving and what their concerns are.
What to Say to Whom?
What and how you tell your children about moving largely will depend upon their ages. Small children (under 10) have different concerns about moving than older children so.
Little ones are likely to be worried about things like getting lost or left behind, whether their swing set will make the move too, if they get to bring their toys, will family pets be coming along. Things you might think have obvious answers are often troubling and confusing to small children who have little knowledge about how the world works. They know how their house works, and that’s changing. Hear them out, anticipate these issues, and put their minds at rest by providing clear answers in words they can understand.
For older children, you might want to indulge in a little marketing. Friendships — relationships outside of the household — are what’s most important to them, and moving means leaving friends behind. Be prepared for an emotional response and be ready with the facts about the reasons for the move and the benefits of the new neighborhood. Maybe they’ll be getting a bigger room, perhaps the community your moving to has a swimming pool. Whatever you do, don’t minimize their need to grieve friendships and be in the know about what will happen next. Allow them their emotions and prepare them for every step of the transition.
And no matter who you’re talking to, set a good example. Your children will look to you for cues on how to feel about and respond to the move. Be positive and upbeat. Look on the bright side. And look to my next blog for more about how to help your kids during and after the move.
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara