Tips For Moving Home With Children
Are you relocating or moving house with children?
Moving can be less difficult for children compared to adults as long as you take them on the journey with you. If you don’t involve them it can be extremely stressful and worrying for them. Always remember that their secure home, belongings, familiar school and friends are a huge part of their life so you should think about how you move and how you involve them whatever their age.
While the unknown can be exciting, it can also be frightening for children and adults. Fortunately, the techniques outlined below will assist you in making your children more comfortable with moving home or relocating. Add these ideas and milestones to your moving checklist and if you move frequently for the military or for a career that requires you to relocate frequently you will understand the true benefits of them.
Tell your children about the move in the right way
Before you tell your children about your move, it's important to think about how they will react. If they are old enough, sit down with them and explain the situation calmly. Let them know that moving is a necessary change and that you're doing it for the best and ask them how they feel about it. Keep this conversation going so you always hear any worries or concerns they may have along the way.
If you have younger children then it's still important to sit down with them and let them know what’s happening, just maybe not as early as if they were 6-7 years old plus. Explain why you are moving and tell them the exciting bits, a new bedroom which they can help to plan and decorate, a bigger garden, a new nursery and new friends. Again, ask them how they feel about it and keep that conversation going over mealtimes and on walks, and this way you will hear any concerns they have and can talk to them about them.
It is also important to be honest with your children about the move. Don't try to sugarcoat it or make it sound like something it's not, or even promise them anything as this may not work out and they will lose trust in you. They'll appreciate your honesty, and it will help them cope with the change better.
Involve your children throughout the entire process
Start by involving your children in the decision to move. This will help them feel like they're part of the process, rather than it being something that's happening to them. Try to maintain a sense of normality and routine during the packing and moving process so they don’t feel unsettled. Eating meals together as a family, reading bedtime stories, and keeping up with schoolwork and activities can help provide some stability during what can be a chaotic time.
If you have younger children then it is often better that you arrange for someone to look after them on actual move day as it can be really chaotic for them and you and make them feel extremely unsettled. If they are older then ask them if they want to be around on your moving day to help so they always feel involved. Whatever their age, pack plenty of snacks and drinks, as well as any favourite comfort items (blankets, stuffed animals, etc.).
Having these things on hand can help minimise uncertainty and often meltdowns.
Once you have moved or even before you move it will really help your children whatever their age to explore your new location or town together as a family. Find fun places to go and things to do so that everyone can start settling in and feeling comfortable in their new surroundings. If they are younger then arranging to go to groups with them will often help.
Also, arrange settling-in days with the nursery you are thinking of sending them to. Talk to them about the benefits and exciting things about starting a new nursery, making new friends, the nursery garden and toys etc and reassure them you will stay for the first hour and will always pick them up when you promise to.
Avoid packing up your child's beloved objects
Children often have difficulty understanding why they need to move. Packing up their favourite toys, clothes, and books can be especially tough on them. To make the transition easier, try to avoid packing up their beloved objects. Instead, let them choose a few special items to bring with them and ask them to help you pack the rest. This will help them feel like they're in control of the situation and make the move less daunting.
Offer them as much information as you can
Children are incredibly resilient, but they still need support and stability during big transitions like a move. As the parent or guardian, you can do a lot to help your child feel more secure during this time. One of the best things you can do is be honest with them about what's happening and involve them in the process as much as possible. Talk about what you're looking forward to and even tell them any uncertainty or worries you have as this will encourage them to do the same and understand it's okay to have concerns and that you will be there for each other as a family and work through it.
Locating further away
One way to make a long trip with children more bearable for them and you is to break up the trip into manageable chunks by planning fun activities along the way. This not only gives them something to look forward to, but it also provides you with some much-needed respite from a long journey.
Another helpful tip is to create a "moving folder" for your children that contains all their important information, like school records, immunisation records, and contact information for family and friends. This way, everything they need will be in one easy-to-access place, and they won’t have to worry about losing anything important in the midst of all the chaos.
You can also give them a section of the folder and ask them to add in any pictures they have drawn, what they are looking forward to and any concerns they have. This is a great way to keep track of their emotions and also a great tool to use when you get to your new home.
Let them do some decorating
If possible, let your children choose and decorate their own rooms. This will help them feel more at home in the new space and give them a sense of ownership. If you're not able to let them decorate completely, try allowing them to pick out new colours, bedding, or wall art.
Offer them rewards
If you're moving with children, whatever their age, one way to make the process less stressful for everyone is to offer them rewards and let them know how proud you are of them and how they have coped with the whole moving process. This might be a day out, a trip somewhere or a present that they would really love. Let them know throughout the process that if they help out, they'll be rewarded and the benefits of your move. This can be a great motivator for kids, whatever their age, and it will hopefully make the moving process go more smoothly.
If a child feels they have some control over what's happening, it can help reduce their anxiety about the whole process.
Whatever approach you take, just remember that moving is always going to be a bit chaotic and stressful for everyone and in different ways, but it doesn't have to be a nightmare. With some planning and preparation, lots of talking and engagement, you can get through it all unscathed.
Last but not least, try to stay positive throughout the entire process – even when things are feeling overwhelming. Children pick up on their parents’ emotional cues, so if you’re stressed they’ll likely start feeling stressed about it too. Focus on all the exciting new adventures waiting for you in your new home and remind them that they can always keep in touch with their old friends by writing letters or sending emails/video chats if you are moving further away.
Moving can be stressful for children, so it's important to do what you can to make it as smooth as possible. If you know your child is going to be sad about leaving their friends behind, try reaching out to families in your new area before your move as this will help to ease their nervousness and this way, they'll have someone to play with or connect with when you get there.