Moving house can be a stressful time in itself, but throw young children into the mix and you have a logistical nightmare. Having to pack up endless boxes of toys, sort through mountains of clothes and clean crayon marks off the walls all while keeping your little ones entertained is enough to bring on a nervous breakdown. A bit of planning and preparation beforehand can make the whole process much easier for all involved, and the following tips will help you save your sanity on moving day.
Moving with Young Children
Prepare Your Children For The Move
Let your children know what is happening as early as possible to give them plenty of time to get used to the idea of moving home. Purchase some children’s books on moving home that touch on different issues such as leaving their old room and making new friends. Get your children interested in the move by telling them about all the areas of interest in your new town such as parks, museums and local attractions. Your estate agent is a great source of information and your moving guide regarding local amenities and can point you towards fun activities for the whole family.
Enlist The Help Of A Babysitter
If your children tend to get nervous around new people or dislike changes to their routine, it might be worthwhile asking a friend or relative to take care of them while you pack up your possessions. A team of moving men traipsing in and out of the house carrying furniture can be frightening to small children, so a day at the park will be much more enjoyable. Attempting to pack up all of your stuff with young children hanging off your legs and unpacking boxes will also make the job much harder, and you will get so much more done if they are out of the house for a few hours.
Make Judgement Calls On Your Children’s Old Toys
Just because your child hasn’t played with her dollhouse for several years doesn’t mean it won’t immediately become her favourite toy the minute you suggest taking it to the charity shop. Wait until your children are asleep or out of the house before sorting through their old toys, and donate anything that has been stored away and forgotten for years. However, if you think a certain item will be sorely missed, then make sure you bring it along to the new house to avoid tears later on.
Try To Keep Things As Normal As Possible Up Until Moving Day
Although it may be tempting to get started on the packing well in advance, this may make the experience more distressing for your children. Try and leave the rooms your children frequent until last such as their room, the living room and your bedroom. Start by packing up the closets, attic and stuff from the kitchen cupboards and other places that your children will probably not notice. Try to continue your normal routine with family meals around the dinner table rather than pizza eaten off the top of a packing crate. Even small changes in your routine can upset especially sensitive children.
Be Prepared For Strong Emotions
Leaving behind friends, school, parks and other favourite places can be extremely upsetting for children. Don’t be tempted to brush off your children’s emotions by telling them everything will be fine. Instead, sit them down and encourage them to talk about any fears they may be having. It is also important to keep your own feelings in check as breaking down in floods of tears in front of your children will only make them more distressed. Getting your children involved in the moving can sometimes help them to feel more in control, so give them a small box to pack some of their things in. You can also ask them to make minor decisions to feel more included such as choosing the route you will take to the new house (from two pre-approved options) or asking them to label the packing crates.
Once you settle into your new home, help your children make the most of their new town by exploring what the neighbourhood has to offer. Search out any local kids activities such as nature walks, swimming classes or fairgrounds to help your children warm up to their new environment. Participating in community activities such as church bazaars will help you get to know your new neighbours and pave the way for your children to start making new friends.