Moving to a new house with kids in tow can be a bit of a nightmare. Right from the beginning, there’s a lot more to consider. First, you need to decide how many bedrooms you want, thinking very carefully about any future offspring, whether or not you want your kids to share and whether you’d like a guest room or some spare space for toys and all of the extra stuff that kids bring to your home.
Then, the move itself is much harder. You can’t pack too much of their stuff in advance because they need everything. You’re not allowed to part with anything, because that toy that they haven’t set eyes on for four years is suddenly their favourite, and there’s just so much more to move. You also need to look into finding new childcare or transferring schools as well as thinking about the local amenities for children and the safety of the area that you are moving too. There’s a lot to do and even more to consider.
If possible, you’ll send your kids to stay with a grandparent or other relative on moving day itself if they’re not at school. But, what about afterwards? Settling into a new house is always tough. Especially in those first few weeks when it doesn’t feel like home. It’s even worse for children.
Routine and safety are incredibly important for them at any age. Sudden changes can lead to upset, anger, poor behaviour, sleepless nights, worry and anxiety and problems at school. To avoid all of these issues it’s essential that you find ways to help the whole family settle as quickly as possible. Here’s a look at some ways to do that.
Find the Right Home
It’s imperative that you find the right home. While this is always true, it’s even more crucial when you’ve got young children, so take your time and don’t rush your search. A new launch property can be ideal as they are clean, well presented, filled with modern touches and in fantastic condition. It can also be easier to settle when you’re not surrounded by an old owner or tenant’s décor choices.
When it comes to the house itself, try to think about things that are important to your children, as well as your own dream house wish list. They might enjoy a garden or larger bedrooms. Ask them what they want from the new house, look online together, write a checklist with them and make sure they feel involved as much as possible.
Spend Time in the Area
Buying a house can take a long time. Even arranging a new rental can take a few weeks. During this time, you won’t be able to spend time inside your new home, but you can explore the local area. Take the kids with you and start plotting your walk to school or figuring out how far the park is from your house. Spend time in the area doing fun things, as well as practical things. Doing this will give the kids something to look forward to. They’ll be excited about all of the fun things that they’ll be able to do, reassured that things won’t change that much and less anxious about their life being different. They’ll start to settle to the idea before you even move.
Involve them in the Move
You’ve involved them in the search for a new home; now it’s time to let them help with the move. You might not want them they’re on big moving day, as it could be dangerous for them. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t help. Let them pack some of their possessions, encouraging them to donate anything that they no longer want or need to charity.
Then, as soon as you’ve got the keys, take them around with a few boxes for their room and let them figure out where everything is going to go. You could even go shopping for some new posters, furniture and accessories for their new room and let them help you to arrange it how they want it. How much they can do will depend on their age and maturity but the more that you can involve them in, the easier it will be for them to settle.
Keep Their Routine the Same
Well, as much as you possibly can in such a mixed-up situation. Make sure that you pack the things that they’ll need in a separate box so that their first bedtime in the new house can go smoothly. This could include their favourite blanket and teddy, their pyjamas and toothbrush and even a DVD that helps them to relax. Then, keep their routines the same as much as you can. This will make it seem like less of a big deal. Yes, they’re in a different place, but the daily workings of their lives are the same.
Take it Slowly
If your kids are moving to a new school or nursery, or even attending a different playgroup and spending time doing different things, start slowly. Don’t throw them in full time straight away. Arrange visits to the school to give them a chance to look around and meet people before you leave them. Then ask if they can start with half days for the first weeks.
When it comes to other locations, don’t hit everything in one go. You don’t need to go to the library, swimming and to the park on the same day. Take your time to introduce new things with short visits that give them time to adjust.
Invite People Around
One thing that children worry about is that moving to a new house means that they won’t see the same people. Show them that this isn’t the case by inviting your friends and family around often. Let them bring friends home from school or get in touch with parents of kids from their old school. Show them that distance doesn’t have to change things. If you are moving further afield and this isn’t possible, arrange a visit with your family, so that they know it’s coming, and skype home as often as you can.