MOVING WITH KIDS
Making your move easier…on everyone.
Moving is stressful. But packing, saying goodbye to friends and adjusting to a new home is extra hard on kids. So whether you’re moving with toddlers or teens, here are a few tips to help reduce the stress for adults and offspring alike.
TALK, TALK AND TALK SOMEMORE
Don’t just spring a move on your kids. Tell them as soon as possible so they have plenty of time to think about it. Talk about where are you are moving to and why. Point out the benefits of the new home and the opportunities it offers for them specifically.
Encourage them to ask questions and express their anxieties and fears. Ask them to make a list of questions and present them at a family meeting.
Tell kids that although their home will be changing, their life will stay pretty much the same; they will still have a back yard, for example, go to school, live with their siblings, parents and pets, and sleep in the same bed.
GET THEM INVOLVED
Empower your kids by letting them make as many decisions as possible. Encourage them to plan their new bedroom by picking paint colours or thinking up furniture arrangements. And if you’re up for it, kids can even help with house-hunting, and have their say in choosing your family’s new home.
MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE
Stay positive; your attitude will influence theirs. Talk about all the great stuff they’ll get to do, the interesting programs they can take part in. Tell them if there’s an ice-cream shop around the corner or a great playground nearby.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Dealing with the unknown makes children anxious. Show them what to expect by getting plenty of info on the new neighbourhood. Show them maps, photos, and explore the area together before you move.
TIMING IS CRUCIAL
Ideally, summer moves are best, so kids don’t have to start in a new school in the middle of the year. But if a mid-year move is your only option, talk to your children’s teachers to find out how to make the transition as painless as possible. Either way, take a tour of the school together before starting classes so your kids know what to expect.
PACK A KIDS SURVIVAL BOX
Fill it with stuff they’ll need to feel at home the first night and morning in the new place. Include their favourite snacks, toys, books, photos, a change of clothes, slippers, camera, MP3 player, pjs, toothbrush, etc.
Take pictures or a video of your home and the kids’ favourite people and places. Make a scrapbook with photos of friends and neighbours, and have them write their addresses and other messages beside their photos so that your kids can keep in touch.
Leave younger kids with the grandparents or a neighbour while the inevitable chaos of loading the moving van takes place. You won’t have to keep track of them, and they won’t get stressed out by the upheaval.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Unload the essentials, set up everyone’s beds, then take a break. Unpacking is boring – make sure you intersperse it with fun stuff like a walk, dinner out, or a trip to the park. With small children, one spouse can take the kids while the other unpacks, then switch.
STICK TO YOUR USUAL SCHEDULE
This won’t be easy but kids thrive on routine. Keep meals and naps at the usual hours and don’t change morning and bedtime routines. It sends the message that you’re still a family, and that things haven’t really changed, even if you’re in a new place.
Introduce yourself to families with kids in the area. Tell the kids that once you are settled you will organize a party and invite their friends to see their new home.
Your children have lost what’s familiar, and sometimes it takes time before they accept their new home. Support them, be available to talk, and eventually, they’ll come around.