Moving can be stressful as it is. However, when you throw kids into the mix, it becomes something that is nerve-wracking and disastrous, if not taken care of. It doesn’t matter if you are moving across states or down the street because change isn’t something that is welcomed by children. However, there are ways you can make the move easier and painless for both you and the kids.
Before we begin, you need to remember that much like adults; children don’t like saying goodbye to their familiar neighbourhoods. While adults can cope with some time, children’s immature cognition doesn’t allow them to understand why they are leaving their friends and area behind.
They cannot comprehend the reasons you need to move and why they need to go to another school where they know no one. Once you figure out what’s going on in your child’s mind, it will be much simpler for you to deal with the situation and bring them back on track.
Here are five tips which you can integrate into your plan for a hassle-free move.
1. Talk about the move
As soon as you know you will be moving, you need to share the news with your children. Make it an exciting time by ordering pizza and gathering around the table to have a simple conversation. Make the kids feel like they are a part of everything and tell them why you’re moving and selling the old house, especially if they are old enough to understand promotions and a new job.
Discuss everything and make sure you give them time to talk about how they feel too. Explain why you think the move is a good idea for the entire family and how they can explore new surroundings. Reassure them that all their possessions and toys will go with them to the new house, so they don’t feel like they have to leave everything behind.
2. Involve the kids in the move
Though you might not realise, children who are big enough can help you with the move and even make decluttering easier. Depending on their age, you can ask your kids to organise their toys, books and other belongings, so they don’t spend their time thinking about the move and look at you packing their stuff up.
Experts suggest that you give kids that are 6+ a chance to pack and decorate their boxes, so they feel like they are a part of things and are excited about unpacking the cartons once they reach the new house. When they have something to do, they will be less anxious, and that is a win-win for you.
If your kids are younger than 5 years and can’t pack their boxes, you can make them feel proud just by asking them to bring things from the kitchen to pack or even help you tape up the containers. The critical point to remember here is to delegate age-appropriate roles, so they don’t feel burdened by the responsibility.
3. Familiarise yourself with the new house
Families that move often suggest that you take the kids to the new house and neighborhood before the move if possible. Let them familiarize themselves with the surroundings and introduce them to the people in the community. Visiting the home is also an excellent way to get the kids excited about the move because you can ask them to choose their room and even plan where everything will go once you unpack.
Experts recommend that if the new place isn’t too far off or if you can somehow accommodate the visit into the weekend, then you plan on spending at least a day in the area where the house is. If the house is far away, then plan a weekend trip and stay at the nearest local hotel.
One reason this tip is recommended is because this visit will also give you a chance to tour the schools and visit the local library with the kids so both you and the kids have a good idea about what you can expect when you’re moving. Plus, if you’re moving into a small town, it will give your children a chance to bond with other children their age and make friends even before the move.
4. Keep your routine
One thing that kids depend on is routine. And when this routine gets disrupted during a move, it can wreak havoc on your life. So, the absolute best thing you can do is to stick to it even a day before the move. Yes, it’s hard to fit in a routine in between all the packing, planning and searching for good removalists, but you need to remember that this is something which will give your child a sense of security and your peace of mind and so you should try to make it happen.
When your kids can spend their day as they do normally, they will feel calm and won’t be as anxious about their move. It is also recommended that you keep bedtime and chore routines consistent after you move in.
5. Say goodbye to the old house
Even after you’ve kept everything calm and quiet during the move, you need to remember that this will be a significant change for your child. Before moving, host a party and invite all the friends and community members you and your child have connected to and ask everyone to exchange contact information like phone numbers and emails so your child can interact with old friends even after moving. You can also ask your child to write a story about their old home, draw a picture or even write a poem about it.
Remember that even after all that, moving can be hard for children and so you need to make it as comfortable as possible for them.