Smooth Transitions: Moving House With Children

Smooth Transitions: Moving House with children

Date: 01 Apr 2015

Smooth Transitions to Moving House with your Child

Involving Your Child in the Move

It’s certainly easier to complete most tasks in the absence of children, but as tempting as it may be to send them off to stay with family it is easier in the long run to involve them in the move. Children gain greater control over their anxiety by directly participating in moving-related activities. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Take your child with you to look at potential houses.

If your child can’t join you, take a camera or video recorder with you when you go to visit the area you are moving to. Take pictures of possible homes, the school, a local park, shops, or of anything that may interest your child.

Share the house details you get from the estate agents.

Check out your new area on the Internet.

Use a map to help your child understand the new area and the route you will take to get there.

If possible, let your child visit the new home before moving day and point out where everyone will sleep, eat, and play.

On moving day, involve your child in the packing. He can pack and label a box of his favourite things that he can open immediately upon arriving in your new home.

If possible, set up your child's bedroom first so she will be surrounded by familiar things.

Read children's books about moving. (Ask your local librarian or use the list below.) 

Saying Goodbye and Staying Connected

Sometimes we think that if we don’t make a big deal about moving neither will our children. But for older children, a move involves leaving friends. Helping your children say goodbye to friends and providing some closure can help them begin to accept and deal with the changes in their lives. Offer your child ways to say goodbye and stay connected:
Host a goodbye party for friends and classmates. Emphasise how easy it is to keep in touch through e-mail and the telephone.
Give each of your children his or her own address book and make the party an opportunity for friends to record their personal contact information.
Take photographs of “favourite places and people” and have each friend create a goodbye page to make a “Goodbye Memory Book.”
Give your child a disposable camera so that he can document your move. Once you arrive and are settled in, make time together to create the "moving" chapter of your family photo album.
Suggest your children draw a picture of how they will arrange their new room.
Encourage your child to keep in touch with their old friends.
Plan a trip back to the old hometown to visit friends.

Settling In

When we’re busy moving, overwhelmed with boxes and the details of setting up a new home, it’s hard to find time with our children. Maintaining a familiar routine and helping them transition from the first day will make settling in easier. Here are some easy ideas:

If possible, time the move to happen before the start of a new school year or term so children have an opportunity to meet new friends before school begins.
Ask the school if they have a buddy or new friend system to help guide your child through school for the first few weeks and introduce him or her to other children.
Pack meals and snacks in lunch boxes so meals aren’t missed and children can eat when they want.

Help your child find children to play with in the new area. New friends can make a place feel fun and they will probably go to school with children who live nearby.
Stick to familiar routines. Try to keep things such as mealtime, bedtime, and family time the same as much as possible.

Everyone in the family will get used to the move in his or her own way. Some children like the adventure of a new home right from the start. For other children, it can take longer. The good thing to remember about moving is that most children are pretty resilient and adapt well to a move within two or three months.

Finally, don't take it personally if your children blame you for the difficulty of a move. No matter how well you've prepared them, expect them to be a little upset and allow them some time to adjust to the move. They will almost certainly grow to love their new home just as much as the old one.

Website Moving Tips:
Children's Books about Moving:
Moving Molly by Shirley Hughes
Moving House by Rebecca Hunter
We’re Moving House by Heather Maisner
Moving House Sticker Book An Usborne First experience book