Are you looking to move house with young children? Here are some top tips on how to reassure them during the move
Whether you’re relocating to another part of the country or just moving around the corner, it can be an incredibly stressful time in your life, and adding young children into the mix can make it even more challenging.
Children can sometimes find it difficult to deal with change and moving house can be a huge step for them. However, if you take the time to prepare them for what to expect, listen to their concerns, and help them to see the move as an adventure, chances are they’ll come through with flying colours.
Ben Hudson, Director at Hudson Moody in York, shares his 10 top tips to help ease moving home with the children:
1. Prepare children for what to expect
Young children might not have a good understanding of what the term “moving” really means. Explain to them exactly what will happen and take the time to read some books about moving together. Also it’s important to make sure you visit the new property with them well in advance so you can point out all the positives before your moving day.
2. Let the children help you pack
If they’re old enough, let your children help you pack some of their personal belongings. Even at a young age, children can sort their toys and help you wrap objects in tissue paper or bubble wrap. If you’ll be putting some things into storage, ask them what they would like to keep and what they don’t mind parting with for a while.
3. Take children’s concerns seriously
Older children will probably have lots of questions and concerns. Always treat children’s feelings with respect, even when you can’t accommodate their requests. Moving away from friends can be a major concern. Why not buy your child an address book and ask their friends to write in their names and addresses so they don’t lose touch?
4. Time your move
Sometimes, circumstances dictate when you have to move. But, if you have a choice, try to time your move so that it occurs at a relatively calm period in your child’s life. School holidays may seem the perfect time but, bear in mind, the school routine can support your child as at least one aspect remains familiar. It also provides valuable, uninterrupted packing and unpacking time for you.
5. Pack a special bag of favourite toys and activities
Invest in a small backpack or overnight bag that will stay with your child through the entire move. Children can keep special items in this bag, in addition pack a few things that they can play with during the journey to their new home.
6. Label boxes of children’s things very clearly
The day will come when you find yourself digging through boxes looking for the toy that they ‘absolutely have to play with right now’. Don’t just label boxes with the word ‘toys’. Include as much detail as possible about what is in the box and who it belongs to. It also helps ensure boxes are delivered to the right room when your belongings are unloaded.
7. Make it an adventure
Moving creates upheaval in your life and wreaks havoc on your child’s normal routine. Let your children do things you normally wouldn’t on the special understanding it’s a ‘moving day’ treat. Why not provide a ‘treasure map’ for them to follow where ‘X‘ marks the spot? It will also help your child familiarise themselves with the locality of their new home.
8. Make a big deal about all the exciting new things you can do
A new home means new friends and new opportunities. Get out and explore new attractions that you can visit if you’re in a new city, or take advantage of all the things your new home has to offer that your old home didn’t.
9. Make it feel like home
Once you’re in your new home some things will have to change. But try to maintain the aspects of your life that are most important to your children. Stick as closely as you can to familiar daytime and bedtime routines. Ensure you hang or display some of your cherished and familiar personal items as soon as possible – this will help to make a new house feel like home, for both you and your children.
10. Don’t rush yourself
It’s hard to accomplish any task quickly with small children under foot. Give yourself lots of time to plan and execute your move and don’t be in a hurry to unpack. If you immediately start pulling everything out of boxes, you’ll have piles of stuff everywhere and the clutter will create unnecessary stress for everyone in the house. Take your time and unpack what you need slowly and gradually.
Once you’ve unpacked, if you can, keep the moving boxes for your children. They make wonderful tunnels and space rockets and will keep them entertained for hours!