Moving is stressful and can really get your back up. Children can also add additional strain on moving day. Here are some tips to cope.
1. Tell Them Early Enough
The idea of moving can be as stressful for kids as it is for adults. Instead of waiting until a day or two to the moving date to tell your kids, let them know you’ll be moving to a new house/location early enough. As soon as your house goes up for sale with the online estate agent it is worth talking to the children about what is going to be happening. This will give them enough time to accept and adjust themselves, ready for the move. One thing you should know about young kids is that they are observant and will notice everything you will be doing as you prepare for the move. Most kids will start getting stressed if they see items being packed in boxes. Letting them know that you’ll be moving to a new house early enough can eliminate the tensions and secrecy. It will also make it easier for them to participate in the packing and unpacking. It will be easier for you as well. If possible, create time to show them the new house or even their new school. You’ll be surprised how well they will take and appreciate the info.
2. Involve Them
Getting the kids involved with the move, such as asking them to help pack their items (toys, clothes, etc.), or even asking for their advice on the type of décor or theme they’d like for their bedrooms, is a good idea. Although you do not have to tell them exactly what the reason for the move is, most children will love having a say on the same. Older kids, for example, can help with house hunting and give input on what they’d love to have in their new home. Although most of their requests may be unrealistic, you can be sure some will be good and thoughtful too.
3. Consider Moving During the Holidays
This is one of the critical considerations to make, especially if school-going children are involved. Unless it is an emergency, plan for the move during one of the school holidays to avoid disrupting the kids learning and calendar. Moving during the summer holidays also means you can pack everything, including their school stuff. The summer holidays make the perfect time to move, as the kids will be at home and can also use the time to meet local kids and make friends even before starting schooling. It also minimizes disruptions to the kids’ education, especially when you don’t move in the middle of the school term. You could also use the extra time to shop for and book with a good removalist.
4. Pack Their Toys Last
Packing your kid’s toys last allows for two things; first, the kids will be able to play with their toys while you pack or load items onto the moving truck. Secondly, their toys will be the last to be packed onto the moving truck, hence the first to be offloaded at the new house. This should allow them access to the toys first thing when the moving truck is offloaded, enabling them to unpack and play in their rooms. With toys at their disposal, the chances of the kids getting restless or bored as you unload and unpack the rest of the items are greatly reduced.
Be sure to ask the kids to unpack the toys and keep them in their rooms, and tidy up once done playing. This will help keep these toys out of the way, considering you and the movers will be hauling heavy boxes and furniture to the other rooms (no time to watch out for toys lying all over).
5. Avoid Rushing Them
Whether in a hurry to leave or not, do not rush the kids, not on the moving day at least. Some kids may still have an attachment to the house, especially if they grew up knowing it as their home. Others might not be as quick to accept the change that abruptly, a reason you should allow them enough time to say their ‘goodbyes’.
Give them space to prepare, or even have a last photo outside the house with them. They can use the photo to remind them of the good times they had there and a reason to look ahead to the new home and to make memories there. Not rushing the kids enables them to accept and embrace the inevitable change.
6. Make the Move Fun and Enjoyable
No one likes moving, especially the kids. You can eliminate some of the pressures and stresses of moving by coming up with creative ways to make the day fun and memorable. One way to do this would be to let the kids decorate the empty boxes. Letting them play with the boxes will help eliminate most of their nuisances and give you time to focus on more demanding tasks. A game of hide and seek would be a good idea, especially once already in the new house.
Many young kids like exploring. Allowing them to explore both inside and outside the house can help them de-stress as well. If done unpacking but the packing boxes are still intact, why not make them castles to play in. Letting the kids play with these boxes opens up their imagination, enabling them to settle down and accept the new house instinctively.
7. Prioritize Unpacking the Kid’s Things
Stress can run high, especially once the movers have already left and the house is in a mess. Although you might want to organize the living room and your room first, experts recommend prioritizing the kids’ rooms. Most kids will get stressed out when/if they can’t see their bed, for example, and will only settle down when their bedrooms are ready. One way to avoid drama or stressing them is to get their things unpacked and the rooms organized after getting the essentials (food, bedding, etc.). If the move entailed driving for long hours, there’s a good chance the kids will doze off faster than you think. Getting their rooms ready also means you can put them to bed (if they are sleepy), giving you the much-needed quiet to work on the other rooms.
Create a familiar setting in their bedroom and the living rooms for added peace of mind. Surrounding the kids with things they are used to will help ease the tension. If the previous house had a garden with swings and trampolines, then consider setting these up too. As long as the kids cannot wander away, letting the kids play outside as you work on the house would be an excellent idea too.