So the time has come when you would like a fresh start, a new area, a different home – how exciting?
Wait! What about the kids?
How are we going to tell them?
What about their friends, their school, the tantrums on the horizon and MOVING DAY itself!
Moving home is way up there on the list of ‘The top five stressful factors’ you will incur in your life, so putting children in the mix can suddenly turn your ‘moving dream’ into a ‘living nightmare’.
What would you say if we told you that it doesn’t have to be that way and that actually this could be a positive, fun experience that the whole family can share and play a part in?
Some of you are probably thinking how ‘crazy’ we are, well, we are about to give you some tips that may help you with this process.
The Family discussion
Arrange a ‘family discussion’, this may sound a bit formal, but actually it is just a time when everyone is together (maybe cook or order their favourite food), creating the perfect opportunity to Introduce the idea of moving house. Explain why you are thinking of moving and what your feelings are. Ask them for their honest thoughts – expect various comments, reactions and questions.
The key is to keep the communication trail open and ensure them that their opinions really do matter.
It’s their home too
The children’s anxiety levels may be rising at the possibility of ‘upping sticks’, this can be minimalised if you are mindful of this fact and involve them in this huge decision.
Discuss the area you have been thinking about and the size of the house you will all require. Take advantage of the fact that children these days are computer/smart phone literate, give them the responsibility to search for properties online, they will probably know their way around the internet better than you!
It is important to include them in this process and if possible take them with you to view their prospective home
The new neighbourhood
Your children will be familiar with their current surroundings; it can be daunting for a child moving to a new area where they do not know anyone or their environment. To make this experience less scary, you could all visit your new locality, investigate what is going on in the area including any clubs, check out the local parks, shops and ‘hang out’ areas.
Children feel safer in a setting they are familiar with.
What about my friends
The children are bound to be feeling a bit apprehensive about leaving their friends and making new friendships. To help them with this, a ‘see you soon’ party or sleepover could be just the thing they need – camping in an empty house could be an adventure. This is a perfect opportunity for them to discuss good times, make plans to see each other again soon and exchange Telephone numbers, email addresses or create a ‘Face time’ group – let’s be honest, ‘pen pals’ have become a thing of the past!
Remember: Good friends reminisce in what they have done, then make plans to create future memories.
Choosing a new school
If your ‘big move’ involves your children changing schools, it is really important that the children are involved in making the decision as to what school they are going to. Children attend school approximately 190 days per year, so finding the right environment for them is imperative. Once you have all decided on the new school, ask the Head teacher whether they can visit to find their way around and meet their new teachers etc. before their first day. This will help with the transition process from one school to another and enable them to concentrate on making new friends rather than worrying about getting lost.
Can we help pack?
The dreaded packing, when did you accumulate so much stuff? Depending on your children’s ages, let them help you, rediscovering toys they forgot they had can keep them entertained for hours!
This is a great time to have a major sort out, or even make some extra pocket money – using Selling Websites like Ebay or Gumtree, local Facebook groups or having a Boot/garden sale is perfect! Give them the boxes and some felt tip pens, they can pack their belongings so they know exactly where things are when they unpack them again in their new home, if your children are younger, they will enjoy playing with the boxes and drawing on them if nothing else!
Ask the children to pack a ‘special bag’, the moving and unpacking process can take days, sometimes weeks or months – especially if you are planning to put your belongings into storage. It would be awful if ‘Blankey’ had been packed in a box at the back of the ‘lock up’!
Children like to have roles and responsibilities, creating individual lists can make them feel important and focus on the task in hand.
Home Sweet Home
And Breath! The move has happened and everyone is adjusting to their new surroundings, but don’t forget to keep including the children with decisions i.e. what room they are going have, what colour they want it to be, where the furniture should go etc. Adapting to their new environment is going to take time, especially meeting new people and making new friends. This could be made easier if you all go and introduce yourselves to the neighbours or visit local parks and shops together.
A ‘welcome’ BBQ or get together can be a great opportunity to see your ‘old’ friends and show them your new home, invite your new neighbours too. A social event is a great way to get to know people (plus if the neighbours are at your party they won’t be upset if you are too noisy!)
Children do adapt to changes, after all, this is life, however, it is important to support your children through these. Continue to have an honest, open relationship, maintaining a positive attitude towards change – this will benefit them now and in the future.