Did you know the average person moves 11.4 times in his or her lifetime? So says the most recent information from the U.S. Census Bureau. Various factors prompt people to move, from job opportunities to the desire to be closer to family members to wanting to live in a nicer climate.

fishMoving is seldom an easy task, and is often ranked among the most stressful events in a person’s life. The Employee Relocation Council cites it as the third most stressful event in life, following only death and divorce. That stress is only heightened when an entire family is making the move and an adult is starting a new job simultaneously.Despite the potential headaches involved with moving, an estimated 43 million Americans move each year. Those moving are often married couples between the ages of 25 and 44 with one or two children between the ages of 2 and 11.

To make the process go more smoothly, consider the following tips.
1. Gradually introduce the concept of moving. Moving is a decision to be discussed with the whole family, even with young children who may not fully understand the process. Kids who are involved in looking at new homes or voicing opinions about which amenities they desire in a new neighborhood will feel empowered and in control.
2. Research potential new neighborhoods carefully. Finding a new residence is not entirely about buying a home that fits the family and its needs. It also is about finding a desirable neighborhood and community. A good school district is an important factor, as is proximity to recreation, local culture and transportation. Drive around a neighborhood during different times of the day to gauge how active it is. Investigating businesses in the area can also help gauge the personality of a given neighborhood.
3. Work with an experienced agent. A real estate agent who is familiar with a variety of communities is a great asset. A buyer’s agent will find homes and negotiate on the part of the buyer, having your best interests in mind. Because the agent will be paid a commission on a portion of the sale price, which doesn’t come out of your pocket, it is in the real estate agent’s best interest to help you find a home you can call your own. In addition, the agent will handle many of the tasks that may be overwhelming if you were doing them on your own, such as scouring available listings, waiting for inspections or filling out pertinent paperwork. With a real estate agent handling these tasks, families can remove some of the stress from the moving process.
4. Pack children’s rooms last. Young children who see favorite items disappearing into bubble wrapping and boxes may start to feel anxious. It’s not uncommon for preschoolers to act out or experience nightmares during the moving process. Maintain a sense of normalcy in the home as long as possible. Begin by packing nonessential items, only packing kids’ items when your moving date is right around the corner. Let children say good-bye to familiar haunts and even to their old home.
5. Plan a school orientation. Take advantage of any programs schools offer to acclimate kids to their new environment. Kids often leave friends behind when moving to a new home. The faster they get back to a normal routine, the better it will be for them. Schools are where children will make new friends and participate in social occasions, so tour their new schools before the school year begins, and meet with a few residents and current students to learn about special programs that may make a move less stressful for youngsters.

Relocating a family can be stressful. But involving kids in the process and anticipating an adjustment period can help families adjust more easily.