Moving home can be a stressful experience without a doubt. There may well be lots of excitement because of new opportunities over the horizon but there will also some major issues to consider. How do you get all your stuff packed up and moved safely? How are you going to make friends in your new location? Is it going to be okay?
Of course, the entire process is made a lot more challenging when you have children involved. Here are some of our top tips in making the trip from old home to new location go as smoothly as possible when you have children in tow.
Talk to your children
Adults can generally get their heads around, and cope with, change. For children, it will be more than just the challenge of packing up and moving from A to B. Not only could they be losing the friends they’ve made, there’s the prospect of starting in a new school and beginning over again.
Prior to moving, you need to make sure you talk as much as possible and get them used to the idea of moving. Of course, a lot will depend on the age of your children and how much they understand about this big change.
It can often be harder for teenagers because, for example, they have made long term friendships and have lived in the same place for a good while. Smaller children tend to have shorter attention spans but you might want to look out for tell-tale signs that they are stressed out and find a way to talk these through to put them at ease. Those under five still have a greater attachment to their parents and are usually the easiest to handle because they haven’t yet started to develop their own independence.
The good news is that social media and technology means that friends can remain in contact with each other a lot easier than in the past. It may not be the perfect solution but it can help, particularly older children, cope a lot better.
Getting the children involved
It’s important to get children involved with the moving process and packing up as much as possible. That could involve putting them in charge of their own room (nominally in the case of younger children!) and helping with the planning. It will make the feel part of the move and in control rather than simply having the change thrust upon them. Try to be as flexible as possible and don’t be too upset if your child suddenly loses interest and finds something else to do.
For much younger children, having them out of the way while you pack and prepare to move home can be a lot less stressful. That means you may need to call on friends and family to look after them while you get everything done. Even if your children are involved in the move, it’s a great idea to involve close relatives and family friends to help normalise the process as well as get that extra needed help.
Getting the children used to the new home and area
Where possible make sure the children have visited the new home a few times, point out their new room and ask their opinion on where things should go, what new items will be needed, should you decorate, by getting them involved they will develop a sense of ownership and hopefully excitement.
Also, get the children especially the younger ones, used to the new area by, for example, driving past the new school and exploring the local amenities to show all the possibilities.
Visiting their new home and area before you move is one way to start getting your children used to the change.
Try the ‘is that a bird?’ approach once you have moved
Once you have moved, it is good to distract the children from the thought of having to move by, for example, getting them involved in activities in the new area or even getting them some new toys to play with.
Finally, planning, understanding and accepting things not going right
Good planning and plenty of understanding go a long way to helping things run much smoother when moving home. Don’t expect everything to go like clockwork, though. That rarely happens with any move. Each child is different and they’ll react in their own unique way. For some it will be a worrying time, for others it can be a great adventure.