Moving with kids can be stressful, but communicating with your kids is essential for a smooth transition.

Moving can be a stressful event. From staging your home to hiring a moving truck, the to-do lists can pile up faster than the sales pamphlets on your kitchen counter. Throw moving with kids into the mix, however, and you are launched into a new stratosphere of potential complications. From having to make new friends to switching schools, moving can be emotionally draining for both you and your children. But no need to panic. Here are five tips to ensure a smoother transition when moving with kids:

1. Hold a Family Meeting

Grab some takeout from your kids’ favorite restaurant and meet as a family to talk about the upcoming move. Don’t worry about making it overly formal or organized. A family meeting is meant to be a relaxed, comfortable get-together where your children can express their feelings openly. Encourage all forms of emotion, even anger or frustration. You can then work through these emotions with your children and reassure them when fears arise. Consider discussing your own first move as a way for your kids to gain a positive perspective.

2. Include Your Children in the Process

By bringing your kids along to view potential properties, they’ll be able to imagine what their new bedrooms might look like or the games they can play at a nearby park. This newfound excitement and interest will ease at least some of their fears and give them partial ownership of the process.

3. Host a Going-Away Party

Let your children invite their close friends to say goodbye and exchange contact information to stay in touch. When moving with kids, experts agree that it’s healthy to teach children to say goodbye and work through the associated emotions. Some goodbyes are a relief, and some are more difficult. Share your own experiences with saying goodbye to friends and loved ones. You’re there to help navigate these new feelings your kids are experiencing and keep the dialogue open throughout the process.

4. Tour Their New School Together

Help your children navigate their new locker or cubby, and meet their teachers in an informal setting. Look for new teams and clubs for your children to join, especially if they were involved in a similar activity at their previous school. Not only will this give them a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar place, but it will set them up for new friendships as well. Staying involved in your kids’ classrooms will help them transition to a new school easily.

5. Plan Fun Activities in Your New Hometown

Grab a monthly planner and start making notes as a family on what events and sights there are to explore when you move into your new home. Whether it’s a science museum, a historic landmark or a famous breakfast diner, your kids’ excitement will replace some of their more negative feelings about the move.

When you’re moving with kids, it can add some interesting challenges into the process. The most important thing to remember is to keep the lines of communication open with your children at all times. Talk openly and honestly, work through difficult feelings as a family and maintain a positive attitude about the situation. Even with all the inevitable ups and downs along the way, these five tips will help the moving process go as smooth as possible for both you and your children.