Moving with Children
A tantrum-free guide to moving home
Moving house can be an incredibly stressful and distressing time for children. After all, they might be leaving their friends, their school and the familiar home that they’ve always known. Follow our advice to make adjusting to a new home a smooth and exciting process.
Involve your children before the move
Giving children tasks and responsibility will give them control over their situation. Involve them in packing and let them pack up their own toys. Also encourage them to de-clutter and get rid of toys they no longer play with .
Make sure that children’s toys are the last items to be packed onto the van and are therefore easily accessed at the other end.
If possible, let younger children select their own bedrooms. It’s important that they feel comfortable and like their own space.
Take your children for a fun day out in the new area and show them local parks, leisure centres, child-friendly restaurants and cinemas.
Let them say goodbye
If you’re moving out of the area, organise a little leaving party. Take photographs of your children’s friends, their current home and favourite places in the neighbourhood. You could even help them create a scrapbook. Do make sure they have their friends’ contact details, including telephone numbers and email addresses, so they know they won’t have to lose contact.
On move day
Ideally, have friends or relatives look after your children on the day of your house move. If this isn’t possible, keep children in the loop as to what’s happening and give them little tasks to do, such as ensuring all toys are cleared from the house and loaded into the van.
For very young children, make sure their highchairs and feeding/changing equipment are to hand so that you can maintain their routine as much as possible.
Forget unpacking on the first night. Instead, make it a special night and treat them to their favourite meal (however unhealthy that is!) and a DVD. Make sure you can put your hands on their favourite books to help them settle down in a strange house for the night .
After the move
Be patient. It will take children some time to adjust to new surroundings. Encourage them to talk openly about their anxieties and reassure them that their feelings are perfectly normal.
Maintain a routine. While children are adjusting to new homes and schools, you can provide comfort by keeping some things the same. Have the same morning and bedroom routines and don’t change nap or meal times.
Help children make new friends. Participating in activities such as camps, toddler groups, after school programmes and community clubs is a great way for children to make new friends. It’s not just useful for the children though, parents can use these activities to meet new people too.