Beginner's Guide to Moving With Children
Author Bio: Jessica is the head of content for Hire A Mover – her fathers moving company. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling around the world to different surf spots and tasting the local cuisine.
Children tend not welcome house moves with open arms. At such a young age, they have rarely learned to embrace change, and a move can bring up a lot of fears in them. They are likely to have many attachments in the form of friends, pets, comforts and familiarities in general. Handling children’s feelings when it comes to moving is of crucial importance if the family is to make a smooth transition.
One of the best ways to ensure this is to involve the children as much as possible in every step of the move. This takes the focus away from feelings of overwhelm and encourages a sense of excitement instead. The children won’t relish saying goodbye to their friends, or starting out at a new school where they don’t know anyone. However, when the situation is presented as an exciting opportunity and the parents are very supportive, their attitude toward it can shift.
The following guide covers the most important tips for moving homes with children:
- Communicate openly and consistently
It is a good idea to explain as much as you can about the implications of the move in advance, keeping a positive attitude and focusing on the way the move will affect the children. Let them know that they can talk to you about how they feel at any time, and ask any questions they have on their minds.
Children are more likely to relax if you can paint a picture for them about what the new life will look like. It’s important to be honest with them about possible challenges the family may face, and to help the children feel that they’ll be involved in solving them. This way they feel that they have some control or influence within the situation.
- Allow them to have some input
If you’re able to, ask for the opinions of your children. Older children may welcome the opportunity to give you some feedback about their preferences and have some say in the home they’ll be living in. If you have a choice of properties or areas, ask them how they feel about each one, explaining the pros and cons of each choice.
When the time comes for packing, allow them to be involved in this too. When they are involved in the process, they feel more in control. If children feel like helpless bystanders in the process, they’re more likely to sink into feelings of worry or panic.
- Make decluttering fun
Although it may be necessary to de-clutter, there are likely to be a few items that mean a lot to your children. Where possible, accommodate those wishes. It helps children to have familiar items around them in the new home, so that they may adjust more quickly to the new environment.
Make decluttering into a fun project by having the kids create inventories, and work with them to price things up for sale. When the time comes to sell, allow them to help you decide how you’ll spend the proceeds – preferably on things for the new home.
- Quickly establish a routine
For children, routine is everything. They need a sense of familiarity, so keep your routine as close to what they’re used to as possible. Although you may feel busy – even at times chaotic – try to keep mealtimes regular, and ensure they go to bed at the same sort of time each night.
Allow them to do things that are familiar for them, such as watching a favourite TV program or movie at a regular time of day. These things help them to orientate themselves and can speed up the adjustment process.
- Set up a room design project
Bringing your new home to life should be a fun project too. Your children will love the opportunity to choose a colour scheme for their room, or some new furniture. This is something they’ll get quite excited about; it can shift their moods to more positive ones. If your children are old enough, you could even give them a budget and let them make most of the decisions for their entire rooms.
You can also involve them in your plans for other rooms in the house. Get them to help you select new crockery and furnishings. They may even want to help decorate, so this is an opportunity for you to teach them new skills, or give them little jobs to do. It’s all about making them feel part of the process.
- Explore the local area together
Spend time as a family exploring the local area. There may be activities you can do that will be fun for them; they can get to know what’s happening in the area and develop new hobbies this way. Invest in a local guidebook; knowing what enjoyable activities are available to them will help them to settle quickly. It’s also helpful to encourage them to do some research for themselves.
Talk to the children about the whole area, and discuss what will affect them. Which new schools might they join? Are there any clubs in the area they’ll benefit from? What about parks, or leisure complexes the family spend time at? Paint a realistic picture for them and visit as many places as you can.
- Integrate with the local community
Once you’ve got the main tasks out of the way and explored the area a little, it’s a good time to immerse your family in the local community. Encourage your children to make friends, and take them to events where they’ll mix with local people. Go to local cafes and restaurants together and talk to patrons and staff. You never know what might arise from such conversations.
Encourage your children to invite home any new friends they’ve made at school. You might even throw a little party to celebrate your new home, and tell them to bring some classmates along. This is one of the best ways to help them settle.
On the whole, most children adapt much more quickly than they imagine they will. They are great at living in the moment, so as long as you involve them, keep things engaging and communicate consistently, the process shouldn’t be too challenging.