Monday 12 September 2016

Moving house with kids

Over the years I've moved house a lot of times. Since the first time we moved house when I was a toddler the number of times I've had to pack up my belongings and move to a new house has reached double digits.

When I was a child moving was an exciting and fun experience. After moving out of my mum's home at the age of 18 then moving house quite a few times as an adult I have experienced first hand how moving house can be a hard and stressful experience.

Whilst moving house by myself with a little help from friends and family was a stressful experience it was nothing in comparison to moving house with kids in tow!

Moving house can be a whirlwind of emotions for the whole family, especially kids. Children can find the change of moving a lot to deal with especially if it is a ‘big’ move that entails moving to a completely new area with new school and the daunting prospect of making new friends as they say goodbye to old friends. Even a less dramatic move where you are staying in the same area and the children will not be moving schools can be difficult for little ones to deal with.

To help make moving house go smoothly and stress-free here are a few tips about moving house with kids - 

Make sure you tell children about the move in plenty of time to give them time to process and understand what is happening so that it is not a complete shock to them come moving day.

As even little ones are sneakily clever and have little ears that seem to hear anything you don’t want them to hear even when you think they are busy playing and not listening make sure you tell them before they overhear any adult conversations about the move.

Telling them beforehand gives them time to start to deal with emotional repercussions of moving, allows you to help them through any worries they have and gives them time to ask any questions they might have. Remember they might not be feeling the same as you are about the move and it can be overwhelming. Giving them time and talking to them will help reassure them that you are there for them always.

Say goodbye
Even if you are not moving to a completely new area and leaving schools, friends and family behind moving house can be an emotional upheaval for children to deal with. To help the understand that the move is not just a little fun holiday but permanent help them say goodbye.

A lovely creative idea to help them say goodbye and capture memories of their home is to make a scrapbook with photos of their soon-to-be old house and their favourite things about it.

If you are moving away from the area and having to say goodbye to friends and family, helping your child take photos of their loved ones to include in the scrapbook can be a positive way for them to capture memories with them and something they can cherish as a keepsake.

Make sure to have a few play dates with friends before the move to allow them time to say goodbye and reassure them of ways that they can keep in touch after the move.

Showcase the new
Take your child to the new house before the move to show them where they will be living. Show them the new area or country they will be living in and what fun things the area has to offer them. Get them excited about moving to the new area by making a list of what they want to do once you have moved such as visit the new park near the new home.

If you are moving to a new area and the kids have to go to a new school make sure to take advantage of visiting the school and having introductory sessions there so that they can get to see and start getting familiar with the new school as well as begin making new friends.

Involve children
To help ease the process of moving and allow them to understand what is happening involve children in the move.

When saying goodbye to their friends make sure to ask them what they would like to do.

Have children pack or help pack their belongings and toys so that they feel in control and involved. Give them a ‘special’ cardboard box that is meant to be for their favourite toys and reassure them that the box will be handled with care and safely transported to the new house. Having their favourite toys to hand in one box will mean they can get them out in the new house easily which will help them transition and settle in well. Likewise to make the first few days of the move go smoothly pack a bag or suitcase with their essentials and special things so that there is no panic of finding what you need amongst moving boxes galore.

Get them excited and help them feel involved by encouraging them to get involved in picking their own room, choosing how to decorate it and then getting them to help decorate and style the room. Prioritise unpacking the moving boxes for their room first and getting children's bedrooms decorated, unpacked and finished so they can start to settle into their new bedroom and house straight away with familiar items helping the transition and making them feel happy and safe.

Be organised
To keep the process of moving house stress free for all try to be organised.

So as not to scare or worry children try to not make the move a ‘rush job’. Plan and prepare in advance by packing beforehand after telling them about the move and try to set aside enough time to complete the move without having to rush because of limited time so that you are calm and not creating a stressful environment.

Try to leave packing their belongings until last so that they don’t feel daunted by the prospect of the move. Plus if you have younger, inquisitive children chances are they will have emptied all of the cardboard boxes as soon as you turn your pack and want to play with the empty boxes!

Do you have any tips about moving house with kids?

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