Parents were more likely to move during the pandemic’s Great Reshuffling than other members of the population. A Zillow® survey found 14% of adults with children younger than 18 say they have moved in the past year, compared to 9% of those without children. Yet nearly one-third of parents were concerned their most recent move would cause stress for their children.
Helps Kids Cope with Moving Stress
As more families move to homes that better suit their evolving needs, Zillow has created a children’s e-book to help parents make the transition easier for their families.
The Girl Who Didn’t Want to Move chronicles a move by a fictional young girl named Iris, her parents, and her special friends, Jupitus and Annika. Made in partnership with creative agency FIG, the e-book tackles what it means to move to a new home, what to expect, and the complicated mix of emotions that comes with moving. In the end, Iris learns moving doesn’t take away the things you love, it just gives you more.
The e-book includes a discussion guide for parents, with advice from Reena B. Patel, LEP, BCBA, a parenting, education, and behavior expert.
“As parents, we often move to create a better life for our children, to develop connections and to grow as a family,” says Patel. “I know personally that moving to a new home can be emotional and scary, and yet moving can help build resilience and open new opportunities. Children have a stronger sense of control over their moving anxiety when they directly participate in moving-related activities. Parents can take steps to make their family’s move a positive experience.”
The feelings of stress, anxiety and fear that children experience during a move can be magnified for parents, who typically face more challenges than other adults when buying and selling a home. Zillow research finds most parents (51%) say they cried while selling a home, compared to 36% of other adults. Their most common stressors are uncertainty over the selling price and whether their home would sell within their desired time frame.
When buying a new home, parents are more likely to go over budget and more likely to make compromises to stay within their budget. Zillow research also finds adults with children at home typically spend more time shopping for a home and attend more open houses because they often have longer wish lists and tighter finances.
Once parents do move, most say they are happier or experience positive life events as a result. Zillow’s survey found parents frequently cited watching their child thrive in a new place (44%) to be among the most rewarding aspects of moving, and 30% say they are a better parent to their children since their most recent move. In the end, 81% of parents agree that their most recent move was worth it.
The Girl Who Didn’t Want to Move e-book is available for download from the Amazon Kindle store, Apple Books or in PDF format for free from Zillow’s customer resource center. Book proceeds go to Covenant House, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and supportive services to young people facing homelessness. Zillow will make a matching donation to Covenant House for each book downloaded, with a maximum match of $25,000.
This is Zillow’s second book. The New York Times bestseller Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate was released in 2015.
Tips for Moving with Kids
- Start early — Try to prepare your children for a move as early as possible. Children younger than 10 are concrete learners and would benefit from hands-on materials to help. Use a map to show them where their new home or school will be. Look at photos online and point out their new bedroom or the tree in the backyard that’s perfect for climbing.
- Allow time for goodbyes — Set up virtual or safe in-person playdates to give your child a chance to say goodbye to their friends and neighbors. Make a plan to visit favorite neighborhood spots one last time, and make a memory box to save souvenirs that remind your child of their old home, friends or neighborhood.
- Maintain connections — Help your child create a concrete way to stay connected with friends through email, text, letters or phone calls. Prior to your moving day, consider establishing a date for when you’ll come back to visit.
- Manage your own stress first — Children often take on their parents’ emotions, so taking steps to reduce your stress during a move can help everyone. New technology has been developed that eliminates many of the stressors that used to come with moving. For example, virtual 3D home tours can save buyers time when touring homes, while a growing trend of services like Zillow Offers allows sellers to skip all the hassles that come with a traditional sale.
- Create a sense of belonging — Help your child settle into their new home by unpacking boxes in their room as soon as you can. Give them the feeling of ownership over their space by allowing them to decorate or select special furnishings they want.
- Be consistent — Return to family routines as quickly as possible with established bedtimes, family time and mealtimes.