Moving house is a stressful time and children are in no way exempt from this stress. If you want to make the move easy on them here are some handy tips.
- Keep children of every age informed on what is happening and what the process will be. Honesty is the best policy and if children feel informed they are less likely to be stressed.
- For children of all ages it’s worth saying goodbye to the area. If young kids have a playground they like, or anyone has a favourite takeaway or restaurant it can be worth going for one last trip.
Young Children and Toddlers
- Young children and toddlers take in information through stories. There are many books with tales of people moving and these can help set them at ease.
- Young children generally feel safe if their parents are at ease. Try your best to stay calm and explain things in simple language and they will take the process in their stride.
- Young children will feel better if they have some input into things. If you are packing you can get them to help out by holding the tape or fetching boxes.
- When packing their toys away be sure to let them know that their toys are not being thrown away, let them keep two or three small toys and a favourite book or two out of the packing to help them rest easy.
- Teenagers are usually fine with the move from a rational perspective. They understand that it is a part of life and can come to terms with that. Teenager’s biggest worries are about losing contact with friends and missing out on their social life.
- It can help to put a move away from friends in terms of preparation for their future life. When they move away for college or work they will need to be able to make new friends and will be away from old friends.
- You can also reassure them that similar to what happens as they get older, they will spend less time overall with their friends, but can have happier, more purposeful times when visiting.
- When packing let teenagers pack away anything they want from their room before you offer help. Teenagers may feel like a move and all that goes with it involves an invasion of their privacy. Letting them do the initial packing of their things, along with making sure their own valuable items are packed safely can make the process a lot smoother.
Moving Day and Unpacking
- Young children can be stressed by the hustle and bustle of moving day and most should not be present for it. Two different approaches can help them deal with it. One is where the children say goodbye to the house and stay with a relation or friend until the day’s move is finished. Another option is to have a friend ready to take them as soon as the moving van or truck arrives. Letting them see that the box with their toys and belongings is already on the van when they’re taken away will set them at ease. Once they are away from the move, the box can be reorganized in the van.
- With teenagers it can be helpful to let them do some roaming after their help is no longer needed. You may not feel up to cooking that night, so letting your teenager get some takeaway themselves, or renting a DVD can help them settle in.
- A priority when unpacking your belongings is to get the younger children’s bedroom set up first. Try not to immediately put new furniture in their room instead wait until the child has fully settled in. The comfort of seeing all their old furniture and belongings set up in their new room can help a lot.