Moving is a very stressful time for adults but imagine how much harder it is for children. Their routine is disturbed, their favourite toys are boxed up and then there is the fear of the unknown new house and possibly even new school or town. Here we share some hints and tips to help the moving process be less taxing on the little ones.
Keep Calm and Talk
Perhaps the best tip we can give is to keep calm and think about how the move is impacting your children. You might be really excited about the move, but your children might not share your enthusiasm. Offer lots of reassurance and take time to talk to them. Remember that their life experience is a lot less than yours and they might well be overwhelmed by this huge change. Whatever you do try to keep calm and keep the experience positive for them.
Part of talking is to listen to your children and their concerns. Often a child will be worried that some prized toy will be left behind. Give them the confidence to talk to you about it and maybe even write a list to put somewhere obvious which lists all their possessions and tick it off when it has been packed so they can see that nothing will be left behind.
Get them involved
Involve your little ones right from the start. Take them to visit potential new homes and, once you have chosen a new home, hopefully with your child’s blessing, talk to them about the positives. Let them choose a room, if you have the ability to do so, and talk to them about how the room can be arranged to get them totally absorbed in the positive change that they have ahead.
Get them involved in the packing process! Kids love bubble wrap so when you are wrapping delicate items, get the kids to help and let them play with the bubble wrap, making it all a fun experience. Get them to label all the boxes for you, they could even put a drawing on each one for that personal touch.
When you finally move in to your new home let your children make small decisions on how the house looks like where to put a certain plant or appliance. Turn it into a game so that it is fun for them. The aim is to make the whole process fun for them and to get them involved in every step and as soon as possible in the process.
If you have the time arrange to spend a few days in your new location with the children. Visit all the fun things that are there like the local play area, the cinema or swimming pool. You want to show them that the new place has fun things to do nearby and that this is something to look forward to.
Packing and Unpacking
One of the hardest things to do is to de-clutter your own possessions never mind the Children’s toys. One way to make this process easier to make a charity box to let the kids help less fortunate children.
Don’t leave packing their rooms till the last minute. Slowly pack their rooms bit by bit so it is a gradual process rather than a sudden jolt. Leave out a couple of important toys so that they still have a handle on their normal routine.
Put their boxes on the van last so you can unload them first and sort their rooms out the moment you arrive in your new home. Nothing will be more comforting to them than having their room sorted the first day you arrive according to the Green Parent.
Top Tip: Don't put fresh linen on their bed at first. It is tempting to start with everything fresh and clean but that familiar smell and feel of familiar bedding will go a long way to help their anxiety.
During the move
You’ll want to keep them occupied. For the smaller children ensure you have some toys or activities which they can do to keep them from getting bored and under your feet. If you can, have a friend or relative look after them while you do the physical move but have them around when you arrive and unload their room. For slightly older children you can, for a while at least, get them helping moving some of the smaller things, especially when unloading into their rooms. Why not go one step further and have a moving plan which they oversee? This way they have an important roll in the move to keep them occupied.
It is common, after a major upheaval for routines to be all over the place. One thing the children will need is for that routine to be re-established quickly so get meal times, bath times and bed times back in sync as soon as you can.
Moving is a difficult time for adults never mind children but by following some of these great tips you can make it a lot easier for them. By far the most important thing you can do is to make it fun for them. The more fun it is the less they will be anxious about it and the sooner you can get back to normal and enjoying your new family home.