Moving House With Kids
Like anything that veers away from everyday routines, moving house can feel overwhelmingly mammoth when factoring in the routines and needs of others – particularly with children.
If you’re a parent or guardian, you will know all too well that every child is different - some embrace change, some need to warm up to it, and every kid adjusts at their own pace. While the approach taken will vary according to what’s best for you and your family, a few simple tips and suggestions can help make the transition go a lot more smoothly.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME
With or without dependents, moving is an undertaking we typically underestimate. Allow yourself some overlap time in between properties to take the pressure off things like packing and cleaning. It also pays to tackle the big things first and in advance, such as disassembling beds, which can be done days before the removalists come – this is especially important if your babysitting windows are quite limited.
ASK FOR HELP
In reality, the level of support structures we have as parents varies from family to family. And as history goes, many of us are better at asking for help than others. If your support is limited and you’re not sure who to call upon, consider putting a Facebook post (or similar) out there amongst your broader community, calling on them for help. It may surprise you who puts their hand up to assist, whether it’s with babysitting during the actual loading and moving stage, or helping out with meals, school drop offs and other tasks.
PREPARE A ‘MUST-HAVES’ BOX
Pack a separate box for things like school books, snacks, lunchboxes, towels, toothbrushes and favourite toys – that way you have quick access to necessities for the entire week which will buy you time with unpacking. Suitcases are good for school uniforms and clean clothes. Other handy items for your ‘must-haves’ box include spare light bulbs and toilet paper rolls. Get your children to help pack the ‘must-haves’ box, they can pick out their favourite items and it’s a great way to help them feel involved.
HAVE A NIGHTLIGHT HANDY
A dim nightlight is a good idea while children settle into a new place. Throw this one into the ‘must-haves’ box too.
MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE
If it is feasible, familiarising children with their new area before the move is a great way to involve them and build excitement. Moving can always be approached as an adventure; exploring new playgrounds, parks and shops can be a good way to cultivate positivity around this new chapter. Similarly, involving them in some playful decision-making can also help everybody adjust more seamlessly. This can be as simple as getting your children’s input on the layout of their new room.
In short, making aspects of the move a collaborative effort can instil a sense of collectiveness, which doesn’t go astray in times of instability.
TALK ABOUT IT
Talking about the house move with kids leading up to the event helps prepare them for it. Moving House by Anne Civardi and Stephen Cartwright is a popular children’s book for helping kids understand that moving can be a very straightforward and frank part of life. It’s a light, amusing story that kids can relate to and the online reviews are great.
Moving and culling is a good opportunity to support local charities by donating unwanted items. This can also serve as a good talking and educational opportunity with children as well as a chance to bond over deciding what items are truly needed and what might be better suited to other families in need.
MAINTAIN SOME TRADITIONS
Maintaining some of your usual family traditions and pastimes in the new place is a simple way of harnessing some kind of normality. This might be a good approach for kids who are really struggling with the change, especially if you have moved quite far away from what is familiar. It works both ways in that new traditions and family activities at the new place can also be a healthy distraction.