Moving house can be stressful, but as adults, we know how to look at the positives – maybe a bigger house, a new neighbourhood to explore, a chance to redecorate and declutter, or the start of a new chapter in life. It’s not as easy for children. For the wee ones, moving can be scary or cause anxiety.
Here are a few simple things you can do to help your child feel more at ease with a big move.
1. Talk about it
Make sure you explain the move to your children in a language they’ll understand. Be open and honest so that there are no surprises for them, and be sure to emphasise the positives, such as fun things about the new location. Give your child assurance that all of their clothes, toys and treasured possessions will come with them to the new home.
2. Get the kids involved
If you don’t let your kids help with packing, it’s likely to make the whole process seem scarier, so don’t be afraid to let them get involved. Young kids can collect all their toys for boxing up while older kids can help pack books and wrap items in newspaper. Make packing fun by talking about the memories that go along with your items and where they’re going to live in your new home.
3. Get smart with storage
If you’re still trying to sell your soon-to-be old home, you want it to be well-presented, not overflowing with clutter and half-packed boxes. A smart solution is to pack up whatever you don’t need in the short-term and keep it in storage. You can do this early on, essentially breaking the move into two steps. Putting some of your possessions in storage will make your house a lot tidier, while removing dangerous clutter that can get in the way during the moving process. Storage can also be a good way to test the waters with your kids, as it gets them involved in making decisions about what stays and what can be stored.
4. Make memories
Make sure you bring lots of memories of your old home with you. This can be as simple as photos and videos of the house, street and neighbourhood, or a physical piece of the home that you can repurpose, such as curtains, pieces of wood that can be turned into furniture, or even a large branch from the old tree in your backyard.
5. Stick to a routine
As much as possible, try to stick to your routine. This helps children feel secure and reassured during the moving period. Even if you’re up all night packing boxes, make sure they go to bed at their usual time. Keep up any regular family activities such as Friday takeaway dinners or reading a book after school, and talk about how these things will stay the same once you move.
6. Pack a special box
Give each of your children a special box and allow them to collect items during the moving period that they want to keep with them. Take it in the car with you, rather than in the moving truck, and let them open it straight away in the new house. As well as their favourite toy, it’s a good idea to include some practical items such as their pillow, pyjamas and night-light. These things will help them feel more comfortable and settled in the new house, right from the get go.