Moving can be a big adjustment—especially for children. Regardless of how far you’re moving, the transition may bring up difficult feelings for your kids, so it’s important to reframe their thinking and promote the positive aspects of relocating. There are many different strategies and tools for preparing your child, but one way you can help them get excited about the move is to throw them a going away party!
A party can be a great opportunity for your child to create fun and lasting memories with their friends, and it may help create positive anticipation around the transition. We’ve rounded up a few ideas to get you started, but feel free to follow our Moving Party board on Pinterest for even more inspiration.
Let your child help with the planning.
During a move, kids can feel like a lot of things are out of their control. By letting them make choices about their party’s guest list, invitations, food, activities, theme, favors and other details, you’ll give them a chance to feel in charge. Plus, all the party planning will only add to their anticipation.
- Use moving materials you probably already have around, like cardboard and bubble wrap, to help them create fun and fitting invitations.
- Brainstorm a unique moving-related theme with your child—destination-themed parties are great if you’re moving to a new state, or you might consider a packing party if your kiddo is struggling to get their room boxed up.
Look for ways to build memories.
With a few inexpensive supplies, party guests can help you create a beautiful memento for your child to display in their new room. Wedding planners have had years to come up with whimsical ideas that you can adapt for a going away party. Some of our favorites include:
- Thumbprint art – Using different colored inks or paints, your child’s friends can add thumbprint leaves to an illustrated tree, balloons in a bunch, etc. Signatures and well wishes by each thumbprint will further personalize this frame-worthy keepsake. Pro tip: be sure to keep cleaning wipes on hand!
- Memory jar – Have older children write a favorite memory on river stones, decorative cards or other small items that can be attractively displayed in a jar or shadow box. Alternatively, you could have them use Jenga® blocks or puzzle pieces for a more hands-on gift. Have the puzzle custom made from a group photo for added nostalgia.
Find opportunities for your child to keep in touch.
It’s easy for adults to keep in touch with friends via email, texts or social media, but children don’t necessarily have that luxury. If your kids aren’t online (or even if they are) they can always make use of the good old postal service.
- Create a birthday calendar – This idea does double duty as a souvenir and a way to keep in touch. Simply set out a calendar and ask guests (or their parents) to sign on their birth date. That way, as weeks and months go by, your child will be reminded of old friends and have a chance to send them birthday wishes.
- We’ve moved! cards – Set out a stack of blank new address announcements and have your child’s friends each address their own. Later, you can collect all the addresses for your records, then send out the cards with your new address attached.
Take lots of photos!
Encourage any parents at the party to snap plenty of pictures and videos, then give them an easy way to share their shots. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are great options for exchanging photos, as long as you’re mindful of the privacy settings, or you can create a shared album through a program such as Google Photos or Microsoft OneDrive. The key is to pick one platform and make sure everyone has access to it.
- Pass around photo props, like chalkboard conversation bubbles, costumes or frames.
- Set up your own photo backdrops using fabric, wrapping paper, maps, empty frames, newspaper or posters.
- Take pictures with an instant camera! The prints make great favors for your guests, or you can help your child use them to create a memorable photo collage for their new bedroom.
Looking for more ways to help your child prepare for a move?
We have several other quick reads to help guide you through this big life change:
- Checklist for Moving Out of State with Kids
- How to Make Yourself at Home in a New Neighborhood
- How to Make a House a Home
Need some tips for the move itself?
We’ve created a packet of worksheets and checklists that’ll help the process go a little smoother.