Moving can be a big thing and is seen as one of the most stressful things a person can do in their lives. Needless to say, it’s going to be strenuous for children. So, here are some tips to make it smoother and easier.
Eight ways to inspire kids to be excited about the move
When you tell children that you are moving, it causes them to feel powerless. If you have sold your house very fast, then it can be even more of a shock. When it comes to the decision, they generally have no input. Do your best to involve them in as many decisions as possible.”
Create a Family Wish List
Kids love it when they’re involved in decisions based on your new home. It also helps to keep everyone happy! Ask your kids what it is they’d love in their new home, perhaps a huge play room, a bigger backyard, their own bedroom or even a house close to a beach. If you can tick at least one of these things off your wish list, you’ll have some happy kids.
House Hunt as a Family
Again, kids love being involved in big decisions like a new house so why not take them house hunting and ask their opinion of prospective homes. If you are doing online searches, bookmark the one you like so that the children can look over them as well. Even more fun, create a map and mark out the houses you’d love to look at and follow the map during the car trip.
Let Your Children Map out Their Own Room
Take some paint swatches home and allow your children to choose a colour. Create an art project – let your children paste a snapshot of their furniture and bed on a piece of construction paper.
Pack a Treasure Box
Purchase a plain box for each child and let them decorate it however they want. This box is where they’ll pack their favourite possessions to move to the new house. They’ll love unpacking their favourite things when they arrive.
Throw a Farewell Party
Saying goodbye is difficult but throwing a party makes it just a little bit easier on children. Keep things simple, a potluck or a simple chips-and-dip affair.
Visit Your Favourite Places
Before you move, visit the special parts of your neighbourhood one last time. Perhaps it’s your favourite park, café or even your babysitter’s house. Make time to visit one last time so closure is much easier.
Create Memory Book
A memory book will become a special book that your children can open up and read when they find they are missing their old home. Fill the memory book with photos of their old home, friends and also include friends phone numbers and email addresses so they can always keep in touch.
Reflect on favourite memories
During a family meal together, ask each child to recall one of their favourite memories in the old house.
Survival Kit for Moving Day
To make moving day as smooth as possible, pack the following in your car for easy access:
- A lunchbox with drinks and snacks
- Toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and toilet paper.
- Changes of clothes and a plastic bag for dirty laundry.
- Documents such as your lease agreement, passports and medical records.
- Extras that may come in handy such as a tool kit, torch, pencils, scissors, matches and garbage bags
How to help your child sleep in their new room
It’s normal for children to feel anxious when sleeping in a new bedroom on the first few nights of moving into your new home. As soon as you arrive, get the special treasure box and have your child unpack it to help them feel more secure and more ‘at home’.
To help them overcome anxiety, try to point out things that are better about their new bedroom. Make sure you walk them through the way to their bedroom, to the bathroom and show them exactly where the light switches are. It’s a good idea to ensure there are night lights set up to help your child find their way in the new house. Leaving the bathroom light on with the door slightly ajar is also a good idea for children in a new home.
Sticking to a routine is also essential when you move to a new home. Children are creatures of habit and big changes like moving into a new home can definitely bring about anxiety. Yes, your moving day is likely to be hectic, but try your best to stick to the children’s normal routine, particularly bedtime.
Preparing your children for a new school
When it’s time to switch schools, anxiety can be at an all-time high. It’s a massive change.
Leading up to their first day, try arranging play dates with their new classmates. You can try contacting the school who will assist you in getting in touch with other parents.
Involve your child in planning ahead. Talk to them about what they will be learning, tell them what times they have lunch breaks and what after-school activities they can choose from. Involve your child in planning out the route you will take to and from school and before school starts, walk them through the route to and from their classroom as well as touring the school so they become familiar and more comfortable.
How to help your family feel ‘at home’
It’s one thing to move into a new home and another to actually feel like it is your home. Here are a few things you can do:
Explore the House
Use a game of hide-and-seek to make this fun. You can also give the children projects they can take on such as counting the rooms, ranking them in order by size, and counting the number of tiles in the bathroom.
Find local children
Walk around the neighbourhood in search of signs that there are children living nearby. Try looking in yards for signs of toys and bikes, basketball hoops and swings. If possible, try placing the same in your yard and see what happens. You might have a friendly neighbour notice and introduce themselves and their family.
Teach Your Children How to Meet and Greet
Give your kids lessons on how to introduce themselves, for example, “Hi, I am Tom and we recently moved here. Would you want to come over and play?” As you are exploring, if you see other children with their parents outside, take a moment to introduce your children: They will learn best by observing you.
Plan a Welcome Party
Once you have met some of the neighbours with children, host some kind of event such as a pizza party, a scavenger hunt, an ice cream social, or a movie night. You can find some great scavenger and treasure-hunt printables online.
Become a Part of the Community
A great place to inquire about facilities that are kid-friendly is the library. Check out the community, YMCA and churches as well — all of these spots are great for meeting families.
Take the Grand Tour
Pretend you are a tourist and visit the local sights. There should be plenty of suggestions of what there is to see and do at the Chamber of Commerce website for your town.
Yes, moving can be stressful and packed with anxiety, for children and parents alike. But involving the children and taking time to plan and explore is definitely the best way to ensure a much easier move. Good luck!