Six Tips for Moving With A Young Family
Six Tips for Moving With A Young Family
When families are preparing for relocations, the ‘to do’ list is vast. It can be enough to occupy your entire mind. Children experience heightened levels of stress during moves, often having no control over what is happening and leaving behind the things that have been familiar to them: not only their home but their friends, schools and neighbourhoods. It can be easy for their needs to be overlooked in all the activity surrounding a move.
To prepare kids for a smooth move, here are six tips that will help your little ones and you.
1. Prepare Them For Change
It’s a natural response for parents to try to protect their kids from things that could hurt them. No one likes to see their kids upset, but in fact, being open about an upcoming move can prevent a lot of stress and sadness for children. For younger children, say, toddlers or preschoolers, it’s best to gently break the news to them about a month in advance. This is not too early so kids have ample time to dwell on the upcoming changes, but gives them sufficient time to process the news.
When delivering the news, it’s important to mention what will be different, but also what will remain the same. It will be reassuring to your child to hear that the important things will remain the same, such as familiar furniture and appliances will make the journey and that the things in your child’s room will come along too.
It is beneficial, if distance allows, to give your children a tour of their new house prior to moving in. Let them explore and start imagining their new lives in their new environment. Show them the neighbourhood, perhaps stopping at the local park or library to begin the process of connecting to and demystifying a new area.
Another idea to ease the transition is to make a book about the house you’re leaving. Your child can make drawings of the house, their friends and school, or favourite spots in their neighbourhood. If they’re old enough, lend them a camera or a smartphone and let them take photos of these things for the book. At the end of the book, add a picture of the new home.
2. Let the Feelings Flow
All the preparation in the world cannot completely remove the pain of moving for children. It will help, but you must be prepared for emotions to run high for some time. The good news is that it is completely natural, so try to cut your kids a little slack and allow them to be sad, angry, inactive, or a combination of the three.
Another common response to change for kids is to regress. They may stop sleeping through the night, talking in full sentences, eating normally, or taking themselves to the toilet. Again, the key is patience and understanding that kids adjust at a different pace to adults. However, if the behaviour changes last for more than a few months, it is worthwhile checking with your GP.
3. Stick to the Schedule
While some things must change, others can stay the same. Re-establish the routines you had in your previous home – it’s possible to continue your family culture in your new surroundings. This creates a sense of familiarity and consistency and can be very calming for children. Depending on the ages of your children, maintaining things like feeding times, bedtimes and rituals are great.
Smells are also powerful memory joggers. Wash your sheets in the same detergent you always have, so bedtime and clothes smell the same. Those little touches can make a big difference.
4. Give them a Vote at the Table
Much of the stress children feel upon moving is that it’s rarely, if ever, their decision to move. It’s a major change that is happening against their wishes, and it feels like everything is going against them. Where possible, give your kids some measure of control over what is happening. It doesn’t have to be big things, but letting them choose a new item in their room, what you have for dinner on a certain night, or where their toys are stored in the garden can be enough. They’ll attain some comfort from feeling that their decisions do sometimes matter while you settle in.
5. Focus on the Positives
Amongst all the doom and gloom of what can go wrong with kids during a home relocation, it’s important to remember to stay positive. Your optimism and enthusiasm over your new home can be contagious! If your kids see that you are happy with the house they may even start noticing more positives than negatives.
6. The Best Books to Share Before the Big Move
A great idea to prepare kids for moving is to read books to them in the lead-up and after the move. It is a way to see the move through the characters’ eyes and see what coping mechanisms they found useful. Here are some recommendations according to ages.
Ages 3 to 5
Big Ernie’s New Home, By Teresa and Whitney Martin
When Big Ernie the cat moves to Santa Fe, he misses the familiar comforts of home and learns that everyone — even the very brave — needs time to adapt to a new place.
Buy ‘Big Ernie’s New Home’
Louis + Bobo: We Are Moving, By Christiane Engle
Louis and his dog, Bobo, learn to adjust to their new surroundings. Perfect for the child who is anxious about the big day.
Ages 6 and Up
Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe, By Susan Patron
PK relies on her active imagination to help her worried sisters adjust to their new environment.
Buy ‘Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe’
Where I Live, By Eileen Spinelli
You and your child can relate to the ups and downs of this story in verse.
Buy ‘Where I Live’
Moving with a young family is difficult for kids, as well as adults. Every family member is under a lot of stress. If you can remember to apply some or all of these tips during your move, it will help soften the sharp edges of the big changes for your children.
TLC For the Whole Family
The adults in a family certainly feel the seismic shift that moving house can be. Make sure you take the time to look after yourself too. If you can find your calm centre during the moving storm, your children will pick up on that too.
One thing you can do for yourself as the grown-up in the house is to partner with removalists that are absolutely committed to taking the stress out of moving day.
Brisbane Furniture Removalists Optimove is friendly, experienced, professional movers. We communicate clearly before, during and after the move to assure you there are no surprises and everything is going to plan. We have thoroughly skilled teams who carefully and efficiently relocate all your possessions. We also have set fees, so you don’t have to worry about a budget blow-out.