Moving to another town, state or overseas can be a thrilling time for any family. But for children, it can be anything from a little confusing to downright scary. So how can you address their concerns and get them excited about the changes ahead? Here are six tips to help give your children the confidence to both accept and enjoy the experiences of moving house:
1. Explain it’s a family move
Young children can become stressed when they don’t fully understand what moving house actually means. They can even develop fears of being left behind or that the family is breaking up. Some might even think they are the only one who is moving out of the house.
You can open the communication by emphasising that they are part of the family, and that everyone is moving together. Be sure to make the move sound like an exciting event, rather than a chore or something to be dreaded.
Using positive language and statements like, ‘we’re all going to live in the new house together’ can be beneficial as well.
2. Share the moving plan
Explain what is happening leading up to the move and what will happen on moving day. Kids are likely to be more interested or excited when they understand what is going on and how they fit in to the arrangements along the way.
If your children are quite young and not up for in-depth conversations, try reading them a book about moving house, to help them get used to the idea. You should be able to find age-appropriate stories covering this topic at your local library, online or at large book shops.
3. Create excitement
Things like ‘financial stability’ and ‘better opportunities’ don’t translate in a child’s world, so try to get them excited by talking about perks – but at their level.
For example, are the children getting their own room in the new house? A bigger backyard? A swimming pool? A play room? Will you be living near a new attraction like a playground, a river or beach? Emphasise the advantages of the move that will appeal directly to them, to show the positive side of moving.
4. Show and tell
Transitioning smoothly to a new location can be aided by showing your kids exactly where they’ll be living. A drive or walk around your new neighbourhood will help them feel more comfortable about the changes ahead.
If you’re moving far away, use photos or Internet research to acquaint your kids with their new area and the look of your new home.
5. Let kids do their own packing
If your children are old enough, encourage them to pack their own belongings, to help them feel more in control. Kids will often feel more comfortable when they understand that their toys and possessions are coming on the move with them. It will also help them feel like they are part of the moving process.
It will make them feel confident about what’s going on to have their own bags or boxes set aside for packing their own room themselves.
6. Make time for goodbyes
Proper goodbyes are essential for making exciting new beginnings, especially for kids. Make time for your children to say goodbye to friends, teachers, neighbours and other people of interest, and also to your house and neighbourhood itself.
This type of closure can help fuel excitement about what’s to come and reassure kids that change and moving house can be positive experiences.
7. Excitement at the new home
Once you arrive at your new home, life can get chaotic for a while. But getting your kids settled calmly is vital to maintain a positive mood – and to keep anxiety levels down.
Don’t leave your child’s room unpacked for too long; make sure they have a comfortable environment to settle into, with access to the things that are most important to them, such as favourite toys, games and books. If they are old enough, ask them to decide how they want to arrange their room, furniture and storage.
Enjoy a smooth family move
If your child is particularly anxious or sensitive, it helps to keep hold of the items that are important to them. For instance, don’t change their bedroom furniture immediately. Retaining familiar belongings from your previous home can help them accept the new environment.
Spend quality time with your kids early on in your new home. If you’re consumed with unpacking, young kids can feel neglected and become resistant or stressed. Take the time to help them decorate their room at their own pace or play games with them in the yard until they feel settled.
For more help and advice on moving with a young family, contact Chess Moving on 13 14 69 or get a quote here.