Moving Tips for a Blended Family
Get To Know Each Other First
Before you take the step into combining two households, take some time for the kids from each family to get to know each other first. Arrange play-dates and spend time together as a blended family over a period of time.
Discuss Ground Rules with Your Partner
Bringing kids from previous families together can introduce a whole new set of rules and expectations from each side. It’s also likely that each parent will have different communication styles. For example, some families like to eat at the dining table, while others eat on the lounge in front of the TV.
Before you make the move to becoming one family, discuss everything with your partner, including bed times, curfews, TV and computer usage, meal times and anything else that fits into your normal routines. Then get on the same page and ensure you’re both sticking to the same ground rules.
While you’re in the process of blending two families, it’s important that everyone feels as though their concerns and opinions are being heard. Even before the move, make time to sit down and listen to each child’s opinions individually.
Spend time just enjoying each other’s company without the rest of the family present. Let each child know they are an important of your new family so that no one feels left out.
If your blended family includes younger kids, it can be easier to find activities and outings that involve everyone. However, as kids turn into teenagers it can be challenging to find ways to get that much-needed family time into your schedule.
There are some things the whole family can still do together. For example, eating at the dining table as a whole family unit encourages conversation and makes everyone feel included. Arranging movie nights in the living room together, complete with popcorn and soft drinks can be a fun evening at home together, although agreeing on movies everyone enjoys can be challenging. Find fun board games that everyone can enjoy around the dining table and set up regular game nights as a family.
Short family outings and holidays are also a great way to build bonds with blended family members. A day at the beach or local park or even the amusement park can all contribute towards family time.
Decide What Furniture Stays and What Goes
Moving into a combined household can mean facing the challenge of trying to squeeze two households full of furniture and belongings into one. Before moving day, sit down and work out what furniture you’ll keep and what can be sold or thrown out.
If you have a plan of your new home handy, mark out what furniture will go into each room. The kids will want to keep their own furniture, possessions and belongings, so involve them in planning where their things will fit in new bedrooms or play areas.
You probably don’t have the perfect Brady Bunch housekeeper like Alice to help keep things running smoothly in your household, but it is possible to create a happily blended family with patience and time. Create new rituals and expectations that work for your newly-formed family, but don’t forget to honour the old ones at the same time.
Combining two families could also mean combining your pets as well, moving houses is stressful enough, read out tips for moving house with pets.