Visit the New Home
If possible, take the child to visit the new home a couple of times before moving day. The house and the area become more familiar in the child’s mind, making it easier for them to understand that the move is real.
Spend Time in the Area
Take some time to introduce your child to a new school. As kids spend so much time as school, their primary concern will be focused around whether they’ll like it there and whether they’ll make friends. If your children will be walking to school or catching a bus, take time to familiarise them with the routes to the new school and back to the new house.
If your new home is located in an area near parks, playgrounds, beaches or walking trails, spend a bit of time there with the kids before moving day. Explain to children that after moving day you’ll be living nearby, so you can visit those places more often.
Include Kids in Some Moving Decisions
Ask the kids which bedrooms they want to pick for themselves in the new home. You could even ask them to choose which colours they would like to decorate their new rooms. Many children tend to respond better to stressful situations if they feel as though they’ve had some input into family decisions.
Include Kids in Packing
Kids don’t usually have a sense of what it means to pack up their own belongings. In fact, most will choose a few favourite toys and perhaps some clothes and think they’re done. Encourage kids to be involved in the packing process and get them to leave their own mark on boxes. When the items arrive at your destination, the kids will recognise their own contribution on the boxes.
During Moving Day
Keeping the kids occupied on moving day is a stressful task all on its own. If possible, get a friend or family member to babysit the kids while the bigger items are being moved. Some kids may feel left out if parents are busy and totally focused on moving. Others may find some way to get into mischief while mum and dad are busy elsewhere.
If a babysitter isn’t an option, be prepared to have plenty of games and activities available to keep kids occupied. Set little tasks that the kids can deal with that are appropriate for their age groups. Keep food, snacks and water bottles handy throughout the day too, as they’ll get hungry and bored very easily.
Recreate Familiar Surroundings
Once the removalist truck has left and all your belongings are in the new home, spend time setting up the kid’s rooms first. Children feel safer with familiar surroundings, so avoid the temptation to buy new furniture during the move. Keep existing furniture and try to recreate familiar surroundings.
When the big furniture items are set up, encourage the kids to unpack their own toys or clothing, as this will help them develop a stronger sense of familiarity. While they’re busy with their own items, work on unpacking family items that kids also associate with safety and security.
Planning a move to a new home can be a great opportunity for families to work together to achieve a common goal. Moving with kids might be challenging, but there are lots of ways to involve them in the process so they aren’t too stressed on moving day.