Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, even before you add the extra challenge of moving house with small children. Children can find moving house upsetting, either because they’re worried about the move itself and living somewhere new, or they find the process of moving itself stressful. The noise and strangers involved with a move can be distressing for young children. Here some top tips to move with children.
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- Book movers. If you’re moving a long way, book cross country movers. If you’re trying to do the moving yourself, it’s hard to keep an eye on where the children are and what they’re doing. If they’re upset, they can easily end up under foot, causing you to lose your temper, and the move to be slowed down. If you hand over to the professionals, you can concentrate on keeping the kids calm and out of the way, with no tantrums or arguments.
- Make sure they understand what’s going on. Moving can be confusing, so talk to them throughout the process so they know what’s happening. Make sure they know why you’re moving, whether it’s to have a larger home, to move to a better area or nearer family, or a move for work. If they know why, they should feel a little better. Explain to them what will happen and when, so nothing is a surprise.
- Listen to their concerns. Don’t dismiss any of their worries, even if they seem silly to you. They might be scared of starting a new school, sad to leave their friends or worried about what their new bedroom will be like. Let them talk to you about whatever concerns they may have and discuss possible solutions with them. Take a problem solving approach instead of telling them it will be okay. For example, if they’re sad to leave their friends, make some plans for the friends to visit you or for them to return for a visit.
- Make the first night in the new house fun. The first night living in a new home is always strange so try to make it a fun family evening, instead of diving straight into getting all the unpacking done. Unpack the essentials, and then focus on fun. Make a fort out of the empty boxes. Order a pizza and have a picnic on the floor. While the rooms are empty, take advantage of the space and host silly contests, like sock sliding races on wood or tiled floors. If the beds aren’t up yet, make a campsite in one of the bedrooms.
- Make things familiar. Unpack your child’s favourite toys and other favourite things, like blankets, to help them feel comfortable with their familiar things around them as soon as possible. Get them to pack up a box of the things they know they’ll want on the first day in the new house. This should have the toys they play with most, a favourite book or anything else they’ll feel comforted by. Unpack this box first.