Moving house is a major life event for any family, and is particularly exciting and nerve wracking for the little ones of each household. When you are starting to plan your move, it is important to keep in mind additional challenges and factors when moving with children. This is particularly important if it is their first time moving to ensure the experience is stress free and runs smoothly.
Including your children from the start of your moving journey will help reduce anxiety and nervousness about moving home locally, moving interstate, starting at a new school (if you are moving to a different area) or taking time to adjust to the idea of moving.
From explaining the move to helping them deal with change, and getting them engaged in the moving process, we share our guide of practical tips when dealing with the emotional side of moving house with children.
Before the Move
Explain the move to them
Depending on their age, your children might need more than a general overview of where and when you are moving. Make sure they know things like the exact date they can expect to be in their new home, what life is going to be like while packing up the old house and whether they will be sharing rooms or not in your new home. It’s also helpful to outline the basics of what will be happening during the moving process, so they know exactly what to expect.
Firstly, start by talking them through your moving checklist. It may be helpful to give them their own checklists of items to be packed. This will help include them in the moving process early and become more familiar with the idea of moving.
Throughout this time it is also important to communicate that there may be different people coming and going to your home such as removalists, cleaners and real estate agents. It’s important to reassure them during this time that these new visitors are helping you with your move.
Be ready to answer questions
Younger children have special attachments and it’s important not to underestimate the impact of how moving away from a familiar environment can have. It may be that this is the only house they have ever lived in, or the only one they remember living in. They might also wonder how they will keep in touch with old friends or what their new school will be like. Let your kids ask you questions and give them honest answers to help them feel more at ease. This is crucial and will help to demystify the moving process and reduce any fear and anxiety.
Packing for The Move
Once you’ve told your kids about the upcoming move, it’s time to start getting everything ready. Keeping track of kids, dealing with grumpy attitudes and moving those boxes full of heavy toys and books are just a few of the challenges you might have to deal with.
Proper planning is vital in keeping stress levels to a minimum. Therefore, make sure you allow plenty of time for all aspects of the move such as sorting through and packing your things, to the plans for moving day itself. Put together clear schedules and checklists, to make sure you have everything covered. Colour-code boxes to keep them organised, and get colourful stickers or tape to mark each box for a fast, and easy kid-approved organisation method.
Include them during packing
Recruiting your kids to handle simple jobs that need to be done before the move is a win for both parents and children. This gives them a sense of ownership by getting them to do jobs such as packing or wiping their bed frames clean. Be mindful that they may not be able to pack or clean up to your expectations, but praise them for their effort anyway.
Finally, create packing schedules to cut back on last-minute stress. Give them lists that include cleaning duties and items that need to be packed before the move.
Give your kids a say
Letting your children make a few decisions and allowing them to be involved in the moving process will help them feel like they have more control and stability in their environment. Ask for their opinions and let them help with decisions they really care about, or at least give you their input. If you can, let them have a say in choosing the colour or designing a theme for their room in their future home to engage with them.
Phase out items which your child has outgrown
Children tend to accumulate a lot of things they don’t need – buckets full of old toys, broken crayons, old school assignments and so on. One helpful tip is to get rid of these items at night, during school hours or any other time so that they won’t notice. Between their old items and your old possessions, you probably have a dozen boxes’ worth of stuff you don’t need to pack. It is important that you throw out items you no longer need as this will help save both time and packing tape.
Plan a proper goodbye party
Saying goodbye is going to be hard for everyone. Having a set time when friends can stop by and get one more hug can either be extra hard or a lifesaver depending on your child’s personality. Think about holding a tea party or similar get-together for your child and their friends. Otherwise, you can also create a memory book, with pictures of the old house, and messages from their friends, which they can take with them to their new home. If possible, arrange a date for their old friends to visit them once you’re settled in.
During the Move
Hiring an expert removalist will make things easier to move in one go. There are a range of services removalists can provide such as helping pack your furniture, provide packing materials and even add additional items in storage if needed. You can also ask removalists to put the furniture together when you arrive.
When moving day comes around there are several tips and tricks you can do to help reduce the stress. Firstly, you can help your children engage with the move by getting them to help with unpacking. Show your children around their new home and talk them through the various rooms to give them an idea on where to place household furniture and items.
For smaller children, it would be a good idea to have plenty of activities to keep them busy while you’re unpacking your things. Having a playpen filled with toys or even colouring books, away from the general activities of the move can be very useful in keeping your child calm and distracted.
Following the Move
Getting them established
Children are naturally resilient, and younger children tend to respond well to routine. Therefore, you should aim to establish a daily routine again as soon as possible. To help your children settle into their new home, bring along some decorations such as posters from your old place. This may help create a similar environment in your new home for them.
Explore the neighbourhood and establish new connections
Since this is a new environment, finding fun things to do will be a definite upside to any move. This is especially important if your kids are feeling unsure or depressed about leaving their old home. Take them to the local park and playground, or a nearby shopping centre to explore and become more familiar with the area.
Meeting your new neighbours gives your children opportunities as well to make new friends and will help them settle in and adjust more quickly. It will also keep them busy, giving you enough time to finish unpacking.
Prepare them for their new school
Reaching out to your kids’ new school and requesting a tour before school starts, or before they show up on their first day of school will help in finding children in your new neighbourhood that are in the same grade or class as them. Having friendly faces before they show up at school can be extremely comforting and beneficial to their overall well-being.
A big move can be a grand adventure, but it can also be both a nervous and exciting time for children. Change is hard and the unknown can be scary. But when you take the time to focus on helping your children through this process, it becomes a smoother and more positive experience for everyone. If you need a little help, Allied Pickfords have been moving people locally and interstate in Australia for over 50 years. With over 40 locations across the country, we are perfectly positioned to help you with your move, no matter where you are. Give us a call today on 13 25 54 to organise a free quote.