It’s no secret that moving to a new house is one of the most stressful life events we experience but moving with kids often makes previous moves seem like a dream. Moving is a huge transition for children and even small moves can seem like a giant upheaval in their lives. As well as dealing with the collective emotions of the family, parents will also find themselves struggling to pack and organise around the usual everyday needs of their children. If juggling the lives of you and your kids is akin to an extreme sport, then moving the family is something like the Olympics games.
Fortunately, there are ways to make the entire process a little bit easier. While we can never promise a completely stress-free move, we can give you our top tips to alleviate some of the pressure and hopefully keep your kids much happier too.
Don’t put it off
Starting as early as possible is key to moving in general, and it’s even more important when you have children to think about. While some parents put it off as long as possible, it’s actually better to tell your kids about the move as soon as you can. Not only will this help you get more organised, it also gives little ones a chance to get used to the idea of moving. Instead of wasting precious time sneaking around kids with your moving plans, get everything out in the open. After all, you may sell your home and begin the process of moving more quickly than you think.
This also means you’ll be able to take them the new area and even tour the new house to make the move seem less daunting. It’s never too early to get the whole family prepared for the move by arranging fun days out in the new area. Take your kids to the local parks, leisure centres and restaurants to highlight all the great places to go in their new hometown. This is a great chance for everyone to get their bearings and get used to the new area rather than struggling in the first few weeks trying to find shops and services.
Prepare for FAQ’s
Chances are your kids will have a million questions once you break the news, so prepare beforehand for everything they might ask. This will give you a chance to think of an honest but positive answer to all their concerns rather than be caught off guard. This might include why you’re moving, where to and when. If you’re moving because of a new job or promotion, explain how excited you are about it. You’ll likely have researched schools and all the services your kids need before choosing your new home, so take the time to explain all of these details to them when they ask and highlight all the benefits including make new friends, exploring a new town and so on.
Get them involved
Get kids involved with the entire process as much as possible. The easiest way to do this is to encourage them to plan their new bedroom. Get them to think about and choose a theme or colours for the new room, and even take them to pick out new bedding, furniture or accessories. When it’s time to move, put your children in charge of their own packing either completely or partially. Even if it’s just a toy box or two, it’s important to make sure they feel included.
Beyond their own things, you can also include your kids in other plans for the move. Talk to them about your decoration plans for other parts of the house and update on them on important milestones in the move when you can such as arranging their new school or picking up the house keys.
Stick to routine
Try and keep to a routine as much as possible. Have everything you need on hand before, during and after the move so you can stick to the usual schedule including meal times, bed times and activities. This will help minimise the upheaval of the all the moving plans and familiarise kids with their new home, and their new life, as early as possible.
Throw a party
Instead of a leaving party, throw a ‘see you soon’ party. It’s important to mark the move in a positive way and helps encourage kids to celebrate it instead of mourning it. Invite their closest friends over for party food and games, and make sure to take lots of pictures. You should also use this as an opportunity to get contact details for all their friends. While you may already have a house number and address for their parents, it’s important to make it clear to your kids and their friends that they will be able to contact each other regularly. You can put together a photo album or card and have the kids sign their name, number and address.
Give them a job
The ideal situation is to have children looked after by relatives or friends for the big move day, but this isn’t always possible. If your kids are around for the moving day, give them a job to do and emphasise the importance of this job. You can even print or make your own badges to highlight each child’s responsibility, for example making sure that all the toys that are being kept out for the move are all rounded up and packed up at the end. For very young children simply set up a playpen area and surround them with their favourite toys to keep them as distracted as possible.
Put together an emergency move kit
Whether your kids are with you on the move day or not, you should put together an emergency move kit before the big day. This should be everything your children might need during the day if they’re there, as well as for the first night and few days following the move. Standard supplies like nappies, dummies and seasonal clothing are a must but don’t forget handy extras like favourite toys, snacks and colouring kits.
Get the kids sorted
If possible, get to the house before the movers so children can explore the new home and get excited. Once the movers do arrive, try to ensure that all the kids’ furniture is unpacked and set up first. This will minimise the amount of chaos and disruption for them in the new house and means they can start unpacking their toys as soon as possible. Make sure they are busy with unpacking or playing once they are unpacked.
Make sure you celebrate your first night in the home. Rather than get caught up unpacking, spend some time with your kids and order their favourite food to make the first night as positive as possible. This is also a great way to keep your own stress levels down and spend some time unwinding before tackling the huge task of unpacking over the following days and weeks.
Celebrating the first night is all well and good, but don’t forget to keep the celebratory mood in the weeks following the move. Children may have a delayed reaction and you should expect some teary moments once all the excitement has died down. Keep morale high by continuing to explore the new town, get kids signed up for local activities or clubs and even arranging a BBQ or moving-in party. This could also be a good a chance for kids to meet other children of a similar age in the local area and make some new friends.
It might be easier said than done but kids are extremely intuitive and look to us for most of their social and emotional cues. If you’re stressed or upset during the moving process, they’ll pick up on this quickly and will likely be distressed by the situation as well. Remember, whatever you do and however you prepare for your move with your children, the key is to always keep it fun. Make everything an adventure and highlight the benefits and the fun at each step of the way.
Bonus tip: Hire the pro’s
Working with professionals will help minimise stress and give you more time to focus on your children and the other important details. If you need storage while you move to temporary accommodation or get settled in your new home, look for a storage facility that also offers a combined removals service to keep things extra organised and stress-free.
If you’re looking for a stress-free move and moving to a new house in Berkshire, contact us today to find out about our affordable storage and removals services. We even offer a free pick-up service with selected self-storage unit sizes.