As an adult, you can look at the bigger picture when you’re planning a move. You can see the potential benefits and concentrate on solving practical problems along the way. Children don’t always have the same ability, and kids often associate moving home with loss – whether that means leaving behind a safe and familiar environment or saying goodbye to friends.
Talk your children through this potentially difficult process and let them see how positive the experience can be.
Give them time
The earlier you can start talking to your little ones about the move, the better. You want to give them as much time as possible to get used to the idea. Don’t overwhelm your kids with too much information, but do frequently bring up the move – and be sure to encourage and answer questions.
If you can start to involve your children in the process, they’re much more likely to be comfortable with the move. Talking to them about what colour they’d like their new room to be or how they’d like to decorate it could make the move seem a lot more fun than they imagine.
When you’re juggling banks and sorting out moving dates, you may find yourself stressed or overwhelmed, but be sure to keep your concerns to yourself. Stay positive when you mention the move in front of your children: just a few misplaced words can sow a negative seed and leave them feeling uncertain and confused.
Do explain the reason for moving, however. Even young children appreciate and understand simple reasoning, and a clear justification tends to make it easier for them to understand the change.
Introduce the new home
Another good way to ease the transition is to introduce your children to their new home as far in advance of the big day as you can. If you’re moving nearby, a trip or two to see the new property will do nicely.
For bigger moves, make a point of sitting together and researching your new neighbourhood and home online. Domain’s app showing local points of interest is a fantastic resource for exploring together.
Some children will approach moving day with excitement, while others may be resentful or scared. Help reduce fears and improve the experience by prioritising your child’s room.
Pack some of their most important possessions separately and carry them yourself, rather than losing them in the depth’s of the removalist’s truck. This will allow you to set up their room as a base and safe place for them to stay while you sort out the rest of the house.
No matter how well you prepare your children, they’re going to need a bit of time to get used to their new surroundings. Don’t expect them to settle in and be ready to start school immediately. Let them come to terms with the change and encourage them to start making friends at their own pace. And check out these additional tips for moving house with kids and helping them settle.