When it concerns raising young children the experts tell us just how important maintaining the routine of a child’s life is. Routine and familiarity helps children feel safe, secure and happy. Moving house contradicts these very ideals concerning children’s stability so as parents we need to take a long hard look and find ways to minimize the impact moving house has on our kids.
In the eyes of adults, moving generally symbolizes a better home, a new opportunity, breaking into the real estate market as a home owner, a new job and career or simply an exciting start in a new town. For toddlers and young children though, moving house means leaving familiar surroundings they trust and love – though with the right guidance and preparation kids are very adaptable.
Be Upfront – Break the News Before You Begin Packing up
Kids are quite often more perceptive than we give them credit for. Any hint of change can be picked up on when parents have mood swings or children sense something is ‘up’.
Before booking the services of local furniture removalists or packing boxes, make it a priority to have a little chat with your youngsters in a way they will understand: “Would you like mummy and daddy to buy you a new bedroom?” “We found a new place to live with a big backyard and a swimming pool.”
Moving house is a significant change for the whole family, and regardless of the new opportunities and benefits that wait ahead, parents will feel anxious and worried at the same time. It’s important not to impact these feelings upon your children, let them know that if they feel upset or worried about this change that they need to come and tell you straight away. Lots of affection and hugs will bring much needed comfort.
Count Down the Days with Your Calendar
Calendars are a useful tool for highlighting special occasions like Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and other special family events. Tracking the time leading up to moving day will hopefully see your child grow excited as you count down the days.
Get Them Involved
Kids love making their parents proud, so by giving them special and important jobs such as helping you set up the garage sale or packing up their room together will get them involved and start warming to the idea that they are actually leaving soon. Start explaining the process, such as once the boxes are all packed up how the furniture removalists will come and put everything into their truck and bring it to the new house.
Visit Your New Neighbourhood
Taking steps to reassure your kids is a smart idea. Plan a day trip to your new area. Visit the local attractions, parks, playgrounds and shopping centre. By doing this you’re building excitement and anticipation and ultimately your children will start looking forward to moving. Absorbing the new surroundings will signify a change is on the horizon and hopefully ease your young family into adapting to their new life. Take a drive past your new home and point out where their bedrooms are and ask them where they would like their playground to be set-up? Finish off the day trip with a stroll around the nearby streets and say hi to your new neighbours.
Moving Far Away – Take a Virtual Tour
If you’re not moving locally, a day trip may not be feasible. What you can do however, is to use technology such as Google Earth and roam the streets on your laptop with your kids looking on. Post pictures around the house of your new home. Find pictures of landmarks and scenery and put them on the fridge.
Saying Good Bye
A day or two prior to the move, plan a special good bye moment with just the family. Ask your kids to help you write welcome letters for the new owners of the house you are leaving. Make it fun and creative, your kids can decorate the welcome letters with paint, crayons and textures.
Enjoy your new chapter, life is about creating new and lasting memories. In twenty years from now, you and your grown up children will remember these moments and cherish the warmth and love you gave them.