How to Prepare your Children for a Move
Whether you’re moving across town, to a new city, or even a new country, moving is a big deal for families. As well as packing everything up, living out of suitcases and physically making the move, if you have kids, you’re going to have quite a bit to deal with on top.
For children, moving isn’t more than just changing location. It’s taking them away from their friends, a familiar environment, and a school they are comfortable in. While older kids and teenagers are likely to get angry and sad, moving house with a toddler or baby is likely to make clingy or confused about the new situation.
All of this makes it even harder for the parents, who already a lot on their plate; so, we thought we’d put together some of our tips to help make your move with children an easier one.
Keep the whole family informed
Right from the beginning, transparency is the best policy. By holding a family meeting in advance, you can avoid any surprises and talk to your kids in a controlled and calm environment.
Make sure to be truthful and complete in what you tell them while leaving them the space to ask their questions and give their honest opinions. Make sure you don’t make any false promises that may come up in the future. The key here is to let your children have their feelings, and that you don’t try and talk them out of it. By taking this important first step, you’ve opened up communication on the subject and can now start getting things ready.
Educate them about their new neighbourhood
Fear of the unknown is often scarier than the real thing. As well as announcing the move, make sure that you’re able to tell them all about their new home, and why it’s a good thing.
Show them photos of the new house and area, or if you’re close enough, take a drive out to help them see that it’s not some unknown place.
Take them to playgrounds, check out shops and get them excited about the new things that await them.
Involve them in the moving process
By letting your kids be an active part of the move, you’re giving them a sense of control which will help them be calmer. Talk to them about their belongings and let them choose which things they want to take, and which ones they want to leave behind.
You can also involve them in some larger decisions about the new house, such as what colour the new door should be, or which plants they want to put in the new garden. Take them with you to look at any new appliances you might get. With older kids, you can even give them a small budget to buy new stuff for their new room.
Let them say goodbye
More than adults, children create strong emotional connects to people and places. Consider throwing them a going away party with their friends, or taking them on a tour around town to their favourite shops and play areas. Position this as a celebration of the old place, while still looking forward to something new. For younger children, take them through each room of the house and say goodbye, together.
Help them stay in touch with friends
It’s important to show your kids that moving doesn’t mean that they can’t ever see or hear from their friends again. Make sure to get the details of their friends from parents and set up Skype or Zoom calls to help make the transition easier – as well as exploring the possibility to set up visits. They will be a little sad at first, but over time they will meet new people and make new friends.
The chaos of moving can make it easy to forget schedules, but structure is super-important when it comes to comforting your kids and maintaining a sense of normality. Set up new activities and routines to create an environment of predictability, but also keep some of the old ones for the sake of familiarity.
Don’t forget if you need assistance with packing items up prior to your move our affordable movers and packers services can really make a difference.
Organise their rooms first
While the rest of the new home may be chaotic and full of boxes, make sure that you and your kids set up their rooms right from the beginning. As well as being fun, it will immediately give them a calm and safe space where they can see and interact with their belongings.
Make their new neighbourhood fun
Your kids will be ready to hate their new home, so go ahead and plan a bunch of fun activities and outings to help them feel excitement instead. Go check out local parks and playgrounds, go for pizza, get them library cards and check out local kid’s groups. Keep up the momentum and plan well ahead so that they have lots of different things to look forward to, instead of brooding on the past.
Take care of yourself
It’s normal to forget yourself when you’re dealing with the mechanics of the move and looking after your kids. At the end of the day, your wellbeing will also have a direct effect on them. The move can be very stressful for you as well, so make sure to give yourself the space to relax and take stock of things. If you’re married or have a partner, lean on each other and do everything as a team.
So, there you have it. A few tips to help you move with kids. Be kind to yourself and keep cool. Once you push through it all, you’ll have a lovely new home and life.
Until then, good luck!