Moving house with kids can be stressful and upsetting for everyone, but particularly young children, especially if they’ve previously only known one home. But with a little foresight, planning and some good old distraction techniques moving to a new home need not be traumatic.
- Keep the kids as involved as possible in the process of moving house. Before you start looking for a new place talk to them about what they’d like a new place to have, or even draw pictures of what they want their new bedroom to look like.
- Have them research your new neighbourhood and make a list of places they’d like to visit and explore once you’ve moved.
- Once you’ve bought a new house, either take the children for a walk-through so they can see their new bedrooms and play areas like the back garden. Or have them search for the house online and, if possible do a virtual tour.
- If possible make a few visits to the new neighbourhood before moving so the children can see where their new school is, or where the local playgrounds are and take some time to walk around so everyone can get their bearings.
- Give them printouts of the floor plan of their new bedroom so they can start to plan where they want to put their things.
- Have your kids research the new neighbourhood or town themselves and make a list of places they want to visit.
- Let each child pack a box of their favourite toys themselves, then have them write their name on it, and decorate it. And make sure they help load it into the car or moving van so they know it’s going with them to the new house.
- Give each child a special responsibility on moving day and print them out a label with a job title like “head toy packer” making sure everybody’s favourite toys are accounted for, or “chief librarian” to make sure all the favourite books are packed, or “head gardener” responsible for collecting all the pot plants.
- Keep calm! Kids will pick up on your stress and anxiety about moving, so try and focus on making it a fun adventure however and whenever you can. It may even ease your own state of mind!
- Keep a picnic basket readily available and well stocked so you have plenty of snacks and drinks to keep children occupied as well as refuelled.
- Once you arrive in your new house on moving day, unpack and set up the children’s rooms as a priority so they feel at more at home more quickly. Make sure the rooms are welcoming and recognisable as theirs with familiar duvet covers, furniture, toys and books.
- Keep a few large moving boxes for making forts.
- Plan a special celebration “first night” dinner, that easy to prepare and fun – try a pizza and ice cream picnic on the lounge floor.
- Set up a treasure hunt around your new section so the kids become familiar with it.
- After moving day try and return to a normal routine, of normal bed times and meal times, school and play as quickly as possible to help everybody settle.