One of the most stressful things for parents to do is move houses. It’s difficult enough having to pack everything in boxes and start bidding your old life farewell, but even more so if you have children! Younger kids might play around and cause disruptions in the packing process, while older kids might find it a bit difficult to leave their old neighbourhood and the friends that they’ve grown up with over the years, struggling with everything that entails moving on from the only place that they call home. Surely enough, there are still a lot of good things that come with moving. It’s hard to tell the kids about them, though, because they’re so focused on all of their old classmates, going out for ice cream every day in town, and how much fun it was living right next door to grandma!
It’s very common for children to have a hard time with the idea of moving to a new place, and if your kids are experiencing the same situation, then your worries as parents might be running wild. The question is: how do you convince them about the move? And what can you do to make the whole ordeal easier for them? Today, we’ll be finding out as we talk about MOVING HOMES WITH CHILDREN!
For infants and toddlers (ages 4 weeks – 24 months)…
- Get someone to watch the baby. Anyone who has previously moved with a baby will know that it’s not easy, especially when you’re going through boxes trying to get everything into one place. The best thing is getting someone else involved—whether you ask a family member or hire a professional babysitter, having the baby out of the house for the most part of the moving process would help keep them out of harm’s way. Moreover, when you’re busy packing, it would prove difficult to watch them and attend to their needs while getting things boxed at the same time.
- Take a carry-on essentials bag. During the big day, your baby’s belongings have most likely been packed already, but that doesn’t mean that they can take a break from needing those! For that reason, it’s a no-brainer to take a few bottles of milk, some baby snacks, one or two diapers, a blanket, and their favourite toys to help them feel at ease in the car.
- Set up the nursery ASAP. You’ve undoubtedly heard that the kitchen and bedroom are the first two rooms that you have to set up as soon as you move into your new home. If you’re a parent, though, your baby’s nursery is an additional area that you’ll need to take care of straight away. Install their furniture, unpack their toys, and baby-proof the entire space. Additionally, attempt to arrange stuff in a similar manner to how it was in your former home. All of these things will help your child get acclimated to the new environment.
- Baby-proof the house! It’s totally understandable if you ever forget a few things here and there due to the stress brought about by moving. However, one thing that you must never forget is to baby-proof the entire house—even before you start unpacking! Doing so will reduce the risks of your little one getting into any sort of accident. Otherwise, it’s also a wise idea for you to leave the baby with a trusted relative nearby as you start unpacking the boxes.
For pre-schoolers (ages 2-5 years)…
- Gently explain the move. It may be perplexing for young children to leave the only life they’ve ever known, and it’s especially challenging for them to comprehend why they won’t be seeing their best pals on a regular basis anymore! If they ever throw tantrums about not wanting to go, try to see things from their point of view and be the bigger (literally and figuratively!) person. Always take note that they’re young and won’t be able to comprehend significant changes like this, so be creative in your approach to assisting them in grasping the notion of relocating. Two examples are by using their favourite stuffed toys in a role-play about moving or allowing them to explore the new location using Google Maps’ street view function.
- Turn packing into a fun game. Packing can be a total drag, but who says it has to be? Young kids are known for their dynamic personalities and strong dislike for tedious tasks, so if you want them to help out, there are many ingenious ways to turn something as boring as packing into a fun game. One thing that you can do is host a scavenger hunt. It’s a pretty big hit among children, so this is a game that will keep them occupied for hours. Give each kid a list of things they have to find around the house and designate boxes in which these items should be placed. Set a time limit (30 minutes would work well), then let the hunt begin!
- Pack their room last and set up the new one ASAP. To minimize the tantrums thrown over not being able to find their favourite blanket or any other item that they hold on to dearly, make sure that their stuff will be the last ones to be packed and the first ones to be unpacked when you get to the new house.
For school-aged children (ages 6-13 years)…
- Invite their friends for a sleepover. A sleepover is a terrific way to let your kids have one last night of fun before they start their new lives. Hosting the party the week or two before you move will give them time for an all-nighter with their friends! Let them let loose from all the packing by allowing them to play games, watch movies, and eat all junk foods of their choice! It’ll be one last hurrah before you head to greener pastures.
- Create a safe space to talk. While you may be overjoyed at the prospect of relocating for a new job opportunity, keep in mind that your children are likely to be less so. They’re most probably bummed about having to move, and in some cases, might lash out at you. Being exhausted and stressed from moving, your first instinct might be to get mad at them as well, but again, understand that they’re only children. Instead, take a moment to just listen. Let them freely open up about how they feel and ask them what you can do to make it easier.
- Give them a few tasks here and there. Such can be assigning them to take pictures of every item that’s set to be packed for insurance purposes. Kids in this generation are pretty much exposed to gadgets anyway, so allow them to put their techy skills to good use. Moreover, since they’re old enough to start making small decisions, allow them to decide on which of their items they’ll be taking.
For adolescents (ages 14-19 years)…
- Provide incentives in exchange for helping out. Some parents might frown upon having to incentivise their children just to get them to lend a helping hand, but they aren’t seeing the big picture. Doing so will actually (1) encourage your teenager to participate more actively in the moving activities and (2) give them something to look forward to instead of actively thinking about leaving their old life behind. As their parent, you would know what they’re into, so customise your incentives accordingly. Incentives can take on many forms, including a simple pat on the back or something more creative like taking your child out for bubble tea, should they be a fan of the drink. Parents who have tried this tactic report that it not only gets their kids excited about helping out but also motivates them to do extra chores so that they’re eligible for future rewards!
- Allow for extra screen time. It’s no secret that many teens often find themselves feeling homesick and lonely after a move. Furthermore, most adolescents are notoriously secretive, so don’t always expect them to openly talk about their emotions. Especially now with the COVID-19 situation that restricts them from meeting new ones, they most likely miss their old friends and would love to keep in touch with them. Therefore, even if they don’t directly tell you that, they’d surely appreciate it if you give them at least another 30 minutes of screen time for things like video calls or playing online games with friends.
General Tips for Moving with Children
- Involve them in the planning. The stress of moving can take a toll on the kids, but it can be alleviated by telling them about the move right away, rather than surprising them when you’re set to move in just a few weeks. Tell them when, where, why, and what it’s going to be like in the new place, just so they can condition themselves and, at the very least, know what to expect. In addition, you can help them cope and deal with the process by giving them a sense of control over things, such as choosing what to do with their items, picking what room they’d have, and the like.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Don’t expect them to have the same degree of maturity as that of a typical adult. Regardless of their age, your children are bound to experience negative emotions towards the life-changing decision; instead of yelling back at them, explain why you need to relocate and a gentle and peaceful manner. Let them know that it’s perfectly acceptable to feel sad or mad about having to leave everything behind. Allow them to process their emotions and reassure them that everything will be okay. Be compassionate.
- Help them say goodbye. Without a doubt, one of the hardest things about moving is saying goodbye to all that you know.If you’re halfway done packing up, it’d be a great idea to take a break and take one final tour around the family’s favourite hangout spots before leaving for good, and even meet up with friends and relatives just to say goodbye. Doing these things with your kids will go a long way in achieving a sense of closure that would somehow help everyone process their emotions about the move.
- Take them to see the new place beforehand. Showing your kids their upcoming home before moving there will help them get excited about all of the fun adventures that await. They might love going on a bike ride with you as soon as it’s warm enough or finding out where ice cream shops and playgrounds can be found. Plus, getting to know your new next-door neighbours (better if they have kids around the same age as yours!) can help build confidence and provide reassurance. It’s a fantastic technique to feel more at home in a strange new environment.
We understand how difficult it is for parents to locate a reputable removalist who can meet their family’s demands. This is when Botany Removals steps in to save the day! Our friendly staff can assist you with any inquiries or free quotations by calling 1300 903 922. Reach out to us today!