Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, and it’s even more stressful with kids! You have to find the time to pack, prepare the kids, hire movers and get your affairs in order at both the old and new houses. And all of that while you keep doing everything you normally do! Moving can be stressful and upsetting for both parents and children. Kids can begin to feel unsettled with you moving everything around. They might feel attached to your current house and not feel at home with the new on. So even after you’ve moved everything there’s still work to do to help them settle in.
It’s even more difficult to move if you’re leaving town. Even if you’re not going that far, you could be taking the kids away from their school, friends and places they’re familiar with. Plus, you could be starting a new job or facing the prospect of making new friends yourself. Moving to another city is a great new adventure. But there’s always an adjustment period where everyone has to learn to fit in and find their place in the new neighborhood. It’s not all about the kids either – mom and dad need to find new friends and new things to do. Help yourself and your kids with the upheaval of moving by preparing for everything that’s going to happen.
Perhaps you’re moving house because of a new job or maybe you just wanted a change. Either way, you should involve the kids in the move from the beginning. If it’s possible, ask them for their input on whether you should move in the first place. Of course, sometimes it will be a necessity. If you or your partner needs that new job, don’t turn it down because the kids don’t want to go! But otherwise, listen to any concerns they might have about moving.
Once you have decided to move, keep the kids involved by letting them have a say in the house. If you can take them to viewings to help you choose (or make them think they’re helping to choose) then that’s great. But if not, take them to visit the house before moving and show them around. Let them pick their own room or playroom and suggest places for their things to go. Point out where they can play outside and how they can make the space their own. Continue to talk about moving with your kids, make sure they know how things will change and listen to any concerns they might have.
The Big Move
When it’s time to start packing up, you can make sure your child remains involved along the way. Send them to do little jobs when you’re packing, depending on their age and capabilities. Ask them to pack up their room and help you to wrap breakables in bubble-wrap or place things in boxes. This will make them feel like they’re helping and help to keep them out of the way of the movers. You might choose to move everything yourself with a self-drive van. Or you might choose to visit a website like http://www.thepromove.com/ and hire movers.
Make moving into a big adventure. Your kids get to eat take-out from plastic plates and spend time on the road for the journey. Once you arrive, they can explore the house and use their imagination to make use of the new space. You can help them to settle in quicker by allowing them to set up their bedroom first. That way, if they need their own space they have somewhere to go. Don’t leave the rest of the house packed up for too long, or it will feel like you aren’t really living there.
Starting school can be tough for older children, but younger ones might adapt to pre-school or kindergarten more quickly. Some people suggest moving during the summer, so kids have time to get used to the idea of a new school. However, they might feel lonely over the summer. Shy kids might have a harder time, but should settle in eventually. Adjusting to a new school can take a while, even for outgoing children. It’s normal for children to spend up to six weeks learning to fit into their new school.
It’s a good idea to get to know your child’s teachers, so you feel comfortable discussing any issues while they’re settling in. You can familiarize yourself with the school by visiting classrooms and meeting the principal. You can make sure the staff is prepared for your child’s arrival. Talk to your kids about their day at school and listen to any concerns they might have. Their schoolwork is important too, as well as how they’re settling in more generally. So keep an eye on how they’re getting on with the workload.
Helping your kids to make friends is a great opportunity for you to make friends too. You shouldn’t be too pushy about helping them, but you can make it easier. Get to know other families from their school, especially parents of children they have mentioned. You can try to set up playdates with other parents. But make sure you don’t pick someone you want to be friends with over someone your child wants to be friends with!
School isn’t the only place to make friends. You can also get to know your neighbors, and both you and the kids can make friends in the neighborhood. Send the kids to extracurricular activities too, so they have more opportunities to meet people. Even just going to a local park or playground is an opportunity to meet other children and parents. Take time to make your friends outside of a parental context too. Don’t neglect your hobbies and time to yourself.
Don’t forget to allow your kids time to settle in. It’s not uncommon for them to be upset or even angry for a while after moving. Allow them time to adjust, and they’ll soon be happier and more settled.