Each child will understand moving houses differently. For some, the promise of their own bedroom might be enough to have them packing their bags, while for other kids, the process of moving will be daunting. Whatever the case, here are 6 ways you can prepare your child – and yourself – for relocation.
1. Have your first family meeting
Holding a family meeting well in advance is a great way to avoid any surprises. Start with some basic rules to allow each child to share their thoughts and keep in mind some of the following do’s and don’ts:
- Do: Be truthful and thorough with the information you give your kids. Allow them space to ask what they want to ask, and to give them honest answers in return.
- Don’t: Make false promises.
- Do: Invite them to be part of the planning process. For example, ask them, “ How could we decorate the new house?”
- Don’t: Let your stress show. Children of all ages look to their parents for emotional guidance. So, if you’re nervous or upset about moving, chances are, you children will be too.
- Do: Play games, draw pictures, or act out the move to get their imaginations going. Smaller children are more likely to perceive moving houses as an adventure.
2. Avoid Additional Stress
While some kids might benefit from distractions, relocations are generally not an ideal time to begin activities that fall outside their normal routine. Where possible, push these out until you’ve well and truly settled into your new house, allowing the kids time to adapt and feel at home again.
3. Explore The New Neighbourhood
Rarely do we travel anywhere without referring to a travel brochure, magazine or website. Why should it be any different for kids? Consider showing them photos of the new house and the area, town or city where you’ll be living. An even better option, if you’re close enough, is to take them to the new area so they can become familiar with their new home.
4. Let Your Child Be Involved In The Moving Process
- Talk to your kids about their belongings. What will they need in the new place? What will fit? What can they buy when you get there?
- Provide them reasonable freedom to pick through their favourite things. Even if their favourite toys are heavier than the fridge, you might not want your kids thinking their being punished by moving and having to give up their most precious belongings.
- If you’re having a garage sale, consider giving the kids pocket money from the sale of their unwanted items.
5. Organise The Children's Bedroom First
A child’s inner realm is often his or her bedroom. To minimise any disruption throughout the move, pack your children’s bedroom last and build their bedroom first. This will reduce the amount of time your kids are displaced and minimise any disruption to their routine.
6. Let Them Say Their Proper Goodbyes
Children of all ages build strong emotional connections to people and places. If you’re moving interstate or even to the other side of town, allowing your kids to have a proper send-off will recognise the time and effort they’ve placed into building relationships. Consider a going-away party, reminding them of the possibility of keeping in touch with their friends over the phone, online or as pen pals.