When you buy or build a new home or otherwise have to move house, there’s a lot you need to handle, with all sorts of different tasks to tick off your to-do list. This period can be busy and stressful.
However, when you have children, the idea of moving house can be even more unsettling for them. Kids get used to being in a house where they feel safe and comfortable, and having to say goodbye to their old space, even for a great new home, is often challenging.
Do what you can to help your children deal as best as possible with the change, so they don’t end up being overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety and confusion. Follow a few steps, and the process should be a more positive one for the young ones in your household.
Acknowledge Your Child’s Feelings and Concerns
Firstly, when you inform your immediate family members that you’re moving, it’s natural for kids to be dismayed, angry, anxious or otherwise upset about the change. Be careful not to dismiss their feelings and concerns or try to convince them right away that there’s nothing to be worried about.
Acknowledge their fears and allow them to feel however they are feeling. Listen to what they have to say, encourage them to talk about what’s going on in their mind, and then discuss ways they might deal with their emotions in the most productive way. Apart from talking to you, they might also need to do some deep breathing, journal their thoughts, have a cry, read a book or two about moving house and so on.
Give Kids an Idea of What to Expect
Another way to help alleviate a child’s concerns about moving is to give them an idea of what to expect. Many kids get worked up about having to live elsewhere because of all the newness and uncertainty involved. Help by explaining, in simple, clear terms what moving means, and use props to help you act out the actions involved if need be. You could demonstrate by using dolls or soft toys, a doll’s house, toy trucks and miniature furniture.
Help children realize that having their things packed up in boxes doesn’t mean they’ll lose their possessions or that they’ve been bad. Introduce your family members to both the new house and the new area as early as possible, too, to help them start visualizing the environment they’ll call home.
It pays to involve your children in the house hunt where possible. Start by discussing what elements they’d love to have in a new home, as this can get them excited about the potential for things they want rather than focusing on losing the current abode. Also, don’t take them along to every property inspection when you’re searching for a new home, but once you have a good idea of which one is at the top of the list, introduce them to it and point out all the things you think they’ll love about it.
When deciding how to choose a moving company, on top of the usual criteria you consider, also factor in how family-friendly workers might be. On the day of the move, involve your children by introducing them to the people who will be moving their possessions. Then, let kids move light items on the truck and instruct workers where to position certain things in the new bedroom or other kid-centered areas at the new property.
Stick to Routines and Avoid Making Other Big Changes
Another tip is to stick to routines during the moving period wherever possible. For example, keep bedtimes and other habits the same, and enable children to continue doing their usual extracurricular activities. Also, avoid making other big changes in your child’s life at the same time. Sometimes certain differences are unavoidable, such as a change of school, but otherwise, try to limit changes until kids have had some time to deal with the location transition.
Give Kids Some Sense of Control
To help your children cope with the move, look for ways to give them some sense of control. Apart from having input into the chosen house, as mentioned above, you could enable your youngsters to decide how they want to decorate their new bedroom. Discuss the color scheme and interior design factors they might like and, if possible, let them pick out new bedding or other bits and pieces.
Moving house is one of the most stressful things we ever have to do in life, so it’s no wonder it takes a toll on young ones, too. However, by considering your children as much as possible and taking the steps listed above, you should help them adjust quickly and as painlessly as possible.