Moving house is stressful for grownups and can be even more upsetting for children. But it doesn’t have to be! Try these tips and tricks to help make your move a positive experience for your whole family!
1. Tell your kids about the move as soon as possible.
The longer you can give children to adjust to the idea of a new home, the better. When you tell your kids about the move, highlight the benefits of your new home and neighbourhood from their perspective. Get them excited about the change and new space! Having more space and hardwood floors may be important to you, but from a child’s viewpoint, a new playground or water park, a new bedroom or playroom, might be more likely to get them excited about the change.
2. Involve your children in the process.
If you’re building a new home, consider showing your kids some of the choices you’re making, such as flooring types, countertop materials, or paint colours, especially if it is for their space. Ask them to pick the colour of their new bedroom. They will feel that they’re contributing to the new home.
3. Take your children to the new house (or show them pictures).
In the months leading up to the move, try to take your kids to see the new house on a regular basis. Watching as a new house grows from a hole in the ground to a full-fledged home can be very exciting for children. If you’re moving a longer distance and won’t be able to visit the house in-person, try to get pictures that you can share with your children.
4. Scope out new schools and/or child care early.
Securing placements for your children at schools and/or child care in your new neighbourhood early-on in the moving process will not only reduce your stress, but also your kids’. When you confirm schools and/or caregivers in your new community, you can begin telling your kids about that change that they can expect in their life, and get them excited about their new adventures.
5. Let your kids help with the packing.
If they’re old enough, encourage your children to help with the packing. You can make packing fun by allowing your kids to label their own boxes by writing their names or drawing a symbol to identify their belongings (e.g. a sun, a dog, a big blue dot, anything at all!).
6. Pack basics so they’re easily accessible.
Be sure to pack essentials and comforting items like favourite books and toys in boxes that you’ll be able to find quickly once you arrive in your new home. Having a few familiar items on hand right away will help ease the transition into your new home.
7. Try not to buy lots of new things.
Although it may be tempting to use a move as a reason to upgrade your child’s bedroom furniture or weed out the toy collection, try to keep the items that your child is familiar with for at least the first few months at your new home. By surrounding your child with familiar items you’ll give them a point of reference, and possibly calm them as they adjust to their new surroundings.
8. Maintain your routine.
Even if the days leading up to your move or once you’ve moved into the new home are spent packing/unpacking and working out last minute details, try to keep meals, naptimes and bedtime consistent, and maintain family traditions like games night or brunch on the weekend. Traditions and routines are comforting to children, so maintaining your schedule will help reduce stress for you and your children.
9. Give kids a say in decorating the new home.
Talk with your children about where they’d like to keep their toys and even how they’d like to organize their clothes. Empowering children to make decisions about their new surroundings is a great way to help them feel at home in a new place.
10. Stay positive!
The less stressed out and more excited you are about the move, the easier the experience will be for your children. Talk about the move with your kids on a regular basis and highlight the positive aspects of the change to help your children see past the scary bits of moving, and get them excited about their new home and community.