Tips to ease the stress of moving for children

As soon as you know that relocation is a possibility, tell them.  Children, especially older children, resent being left out of important family information.  Discuss the move and the reasons behind it over a family dinner.  Share personal stories from your own moving experiences to help them relate and adjust to the idea of moving.

2. Involve your children in the moving process – Show them you value their opinion by taking them along to view properties or have them look at pictures of potential new homes.  Further excite your child about the new house by letting them decorate their own new bedroom.  Let them have as much say in the layout and d├ęcor of their room as possible.

3. Plan a going away party – Invite your children’s friends and the neighbours.  Play games and eat sweets.  To lessen the severity of the move, refer to the party as a ‘see you soon’ party rather than a ‘goodbye’ party. 

During the move:

4.  Let them pack their own small suitcase – Allow your children to pack a small suitcase or backpack filled with their essentials, even if the items they choose seem random or unnecessary.  Children find comfort in having a sense of control over the move.

5. Arrange for childcare of young children – During the final pack-up and preparation for the move, leave young children with a babysitter, preferably with somebody familiar to them.  This will help smooth the overall moving process and also prevent potential bumps, bruises and other harm to your child. 

6. Let them pop the bubble wrap – No matter how much it annoys you.  It’s an activity universally loved by children.  They put up with all your stress leading up to the move; now let them have this reward.

After the move:

7. Explore your new town together – Discover all the fun activities to do in your new town.  Make a special visit to nearby parks and sweet shops.  Find out what extra-curricular activities are available for your children.

8. Visit your children’s new school – If possible, get to know the other children and teachers in their future classes and gain a feel for the school layout.  Also check with the administration for the necessary forms and vaccines required to enrol in the school.

9.  Maintain the same daily routine – Continue your children’s schedule as similarly as possible from their old home to keep a sense of familiarity.  Moving is a huge transition; don’t overwhelm your children with a new daily routine as well.

10. Set realistic expectations – Don’t expect your children to adjust to their new surroundings overnight.  Usually children take around 6 weeks to feel comfortable in their new home and school.  Do not rush adjustment and be aware of warning signs, such as lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping or a change in personality, that they are having a difficult time adjusting.

Rosemary Rogers, Director, reallymoving.com comments:

“Moving is a stressful time for everyone, your children may find all the changes going on to be especially scary.  Keeping children involved and putting a fun twist on the move can help to eliminate their fears and even garner a sense of excitement at the possibilities of their new home. After all, when your children are happy, you’re happy, and you can put more effort into getting your home ready for the family’s new life!”

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