Moving can be stressful at the best of times but moving with children in tow is a whole other story. Children are often wary of change, so it's best to be well prepared. I researched 10 steps that can help make the moving process as stress-free as possible for the whole family.
1. Breaking the News
Breaking the news of the move can be one of the most crucial steps of the entire process. First, explain to your kids how you think the move will benefit the whole family. If you have more than one child, it is good to address each of them later in private once they've had some time to let it all sink in. Let them know that you'll need their assistance as part of the process and they’re more likely to step up and help out. Be as open as possible about what moving entails. With young children, don’t assume that they'll understand what it all means right away.
2. Communication is key
Take the time to talk to your kids about the move during the process. Use these conversations as an opportunity to explain the things you think they'll like about the neighbourhood you’re moving to, the house, the property, etc. Sometimes children just wants to know that they've been heard, even if they can’t have their way.
3. Out with the old
Getting rid of old stuff can be a painful process or it can be a fun family activity. It can be tedious and time consuming to try to go through your child’s things, having to ask them piece by piece what they want to keep or give away, but if you get the kids excited with the prospect of a garage sale, then the kids will do a better job sorting than you ever could.
4. Timing is key
If you can, try to time the move around the more stable periods in your kids’ lives. Moving during the school year can be disruptive and make integration into the new community and school environment much more difficult.
5. Take advantage of relatives and friends
If you have friends or family available to take care of your young children, that will definitely make the moving process that much easier. If your kids are a bit older, this can be the opportununity for them to hang out with their neighborhood friends and say their goodbyes. This will also allow you to space out the packing process.
6. Pack small boxes of the kids' special things last
Don’t make the mistake of packing a favourite toy, book, or video games too soon. Go through the contents of these special last minute boxes with your kids and label them well. When you arrive at the new place, you likely won’t have the luxury of friends and family that can entertain the kids while you sort through your new life, so you’ll want to have the kids entertain themselves for a time while you get to sorting through the other boxes.
7. Saying Goodbye
You’re likely leaving a lot of people behind that you and your children had relationships with. A goodbye party can be a great way to end your time at the old place but if you can, have a friend or family member host the event. This can double as a goodbye present and will also save you the nightmare of planning while packing.
8. Familiarize your family with the new neighbourhood
Research and show your children the opportunities and activities around the area. It may be tough at first for your kids to want to take part but be patient as they adjust to their new surroundings.
9. Keep the familiar that worked
Routine can be very comforting in new environments and can help children deal with separation anxiety. Do your best to keep important family times and activities the same as soon as you can after arriving at the new house. Modifying old traditions in this way can also allow you to bridge the gap between the old and new and make the new place feel like home a lot quicker.
10. Remember your own needs
You’re doing a lot of work to make your kids comfortable with the move and to make the process as painless as possible for them. You know it will work out in the long run, but sometimes that still won’t mean they understand right away. In all of this, remember to treat yourself with as much consideration as the rest of the family. Moving is a stressful business but the rewards are worth it once you settle in to your new home.
If you need help finding that new family home, give me a call and I will help your family with their search and the process of moving forward. If you're family has grown to the point where you need to sell, let me help you navigate through the process and help make it a pleasant experience for your family.