Moving house can be incredibly stressful, and when there are children involved it can be even harder. I’ve moved twice since S was born and neither time was much fun. I did pick up a few tips on the way though…
Talk to children about moving house before it happens
Both times I’ve moved house since S was born, I’ve made sure to talk to her about it as much as possible. The last time we moved, she knew from the moment I started looking for houses that we would be moving. We talked about what the new house might look like, what she might be able to see from her bedroom window and so on. Once I’d found a place, I brought her to see it before we moved in and we talked about it lots. I find that children react to change much better when they have time to acclimatise, and to ask questions.
Pack slowly; unpack quickly
Children need time to adjust to the idea of putting their belongings into boxes and moving to a new place. It can be hard for them to deal with all of their things suddenly being packed away in one go. Wherever possible, try to pack a few things every day so that it’s a gradual transition.
When you get to your new home though, make their bedroom a priority as much as possible. Having their familiar things around them will help them to settle in and feel at home.
Get reliable movers.
Moving house is an expensive business, there’s no denying it. But it’s worth paying for movers with a good reputation who you know will turn up on time, take care of your things, and not leave a door off its hinges at your old house. A good removal firm will remove a large amount of stress from your house move, not add to it.
Avoid too many new things
It can be tempting to use a house move as a way to replace old furniture, or to treat your child to new bedding or clothes. It’s nice to do that, but many children really need familiarity when they move house. That includes all the old broken toys you were hoping to “lose” during the move, and the smell of their bed covers that are old and ratty and in need of a wash.
Ask their opinion
Children like to feel that they have some control over what happens in their lives. While a child probably can’t have the final say over which home you move to, allowing them to make some decisions along the way can be helpful. Even asking their opinion on where you should put the toaster, or where the TV should go can make them feel more in control of the situation.
Make the first night special
A first night in a new home can be exciting but also unfamiliar and scary if you’re young. When we move house often or first instinct is to power on through and unpack as much as possible but children will need comfort from their parents when surrounded by boxes and unfamiliar walls. Order takeaway and have a picnic on the floor; read a story together or do something else that allows them to feel connected to you. This can really help them to create good associations in your new home.