Moving house can be an emotionally draining experience. It takes a lot of hard work and, even if you’re excited about relocating, it can be tough to let go of the familiar. For children, the stress is often amplified, because unlike their parents, they’re moving away from everything that they’ve ever known. To a young child, the thought of living somewhere else can seem positively unthinkable.
And, of course, if relocating requires a change of school, a whole new period of adjustment and development will have to begin. Nevertheless, there are all kinds of reasons why you might need to encourage your family to make such a big change. Whether it’s a promotion, a lack of space, or simply the desire for a better life that motivates you, it’s important to understand that moving house is a life changing event for little ones.
Fortunately, the experts at Move on Removals have put together this handy guide to helping your kids settle in and settle down in a brand new home.
- Inform Them in Plenty of Time
It is really important that you talk to your children about your plans to move house. This might be one month before it happens or six; just make sure that it doesn’t come as a total surprise. Answer any and all questions that they might have, even if they’re not necessarily expressed with the utmost excitement or happiness. The best way to keep a young child feeling positive about a big move is to include plenty of talk about the things that will stay the same, as well as the things that will change (for instance, they get to keep all of their toys).
- Don’t Tell Them How to Feel
While it can be frustrating to have to plan a move and deal with a toddler with a determination to stay put, it isn’t really fair to tell a child not to be upset; particularly if you are finding the process emotional yourself. It is no good pretending that leaving a beloved home isn’t tough. The point to stress is that, sometimes, it is necessary to move on to bigger and better things. If your children are sad, try to resist the urge to mute or trivialise these feelings, but do emphasise all of the great things about the new place.
- Stay Positive and Move Forward
One of the worst things that you can do is criticise the new house in front of the children, particularly if they are finding the idea of moving tough. For the most part, kids just bounce off their parents. If you are positive and cheery, they’ll feel safe and reflect your attitude. In fact, it is a great idea to get children involved with plans for the new home. Ask them what colour they’d like their bedroom, invite them to pick out furniture, and show a willingness to share the experience with them. Offering a little trust and control will encourage your kids to feel like responsible, capable mini adults.
- Help Your Kids Make Friends
This is, in many ways, the hardest thing about moving with children – no matter what their age. Ultimately, you can only do so much; at school, they’ve got to be able to make friends by themselves. However, what you can do is teach them some cool ways to make an introduction and fit in. For example, teach young children how to start a conversation. This will help them to feel in control and less abandoned when dropped right in the middle of a brand new class.
- Keep Some of the Old Routines
Just like adults, kids feel more comfortable in unfamiliar environments if there are elements of the familiar to fall back on. They might be small things; an old toy box, the regular dinner schedule, or the weekly visit from gran and grandad, but they are important nonetheless. Moving house can be overwhelming at any age and there’s nothing wrong with holding old routines close until you feel safe enough to experiment with new ones. Just make sure that your children know that they can talk to you if they are struggling; honesty, lots of hugs, and a treat here and there can make a big difference.