Moving home is a stressful experience, but moving with children can amply that experience tenfold if parents don’t plan ahead. Children often fail to understand why the family is moving and end up sulking for weeks or months in protest. Not many parents take into consideration the mental effects a big move can have on the little ones or ways to tackle the problem. We have been working in this industry for as long as anybody, and have learned several useful tactics to ensure stress levels are kept to a minimum when moving with children.
Start with a family meeting
Tell your children about the move as soon as you can to help them prepare for it mentally. If you’re moving because you or your partner has found a better job, tell your children the motive to move and how it will benefit the whole family to help them understand.
Allow them to express their emotions and let them understand you’re sympathetic, but you’re moving because this is the best plan for the whole family. Reassure them of any doubts they have and ask if there’s anything you can do to help them adjust to the move. Even parents get anxious and worried when moving and start questioning themselves. Did we buy the right house? Will I enjoy this new job? What if we don’t like the area? All these questions will come into your mind throughout the move but remain optimistic and positive in front of your children, if they see you alarmed or panicked, it may just rub off on them.
Tip: Break the news over a pizza or something your children love eating to soften the impact, depending on the age of your children, there are several different ways they will react to the news.
Visit the new home
Unless you’re moving to the other side of the country, take your children to your new home and explore the the local area. More often than not when moving home, it’s usually to a much bigger place. Show your kids that they will get bigger rooms than before and search for places nearby that will excite them such as zoos, parks or restaurants.
Becoming accustom to their new home and all the parks and leisure centers nearby can smooth over the move dramatically. Drive to their new school and arrange with the headmaster a short tour, children fear the idea of moving because they are scared of the ‘unknown’.
The goal should be to slowly condition them to the new home and surroundings so come moving day they are not overfilled with emotion and thoughts which could cause problems.
Show them the positives
Do your children love sports? Dancing? Martial arts? Whatever they do enjoy show them the incentives their new home has to offer. For example, if they love soccer and there’s a school nearby, enroll them to join when you move. This will get them motivated for the move rather than feeling down in the dumps.
Excitement of moving
Remind your children that although moving can makes people nervous, it’s one of the most exciting adventures one can ever have. Read them bedtime stories of immigrants who had to move from their home and as a result ended up in better situations and had experiences they wouldn’t have otherwise received. Visit the local bookstore and buy positive travel related books suitable to their age to read.
When a child finds something exciting, they will react to the situation in a much more positive way, and easier for you moving with children.
Bargain with them
Children, especially teenagers can become very stubborn and angry when they feel they aren’t being heard or their opinion has no weight on the move. Work with them by giving them decisions to pick which color they would like to paint their new room, or if the new home is bigger enough for a pet, what would they like?
When it comes to bigger ‘grown up’ decisions such as choosing the right house based on your budget or area, listen to your children’s needs but remain in full control over what’s suitable for you and your family.
Get involved in the new community
Parents who are move with teenagers to a new area must get involved with the new community and start building relationships. Teenagers will often feel isolated as they have no friends and may be shy going out alone to find new ones. Start with talking to your new neighbors and see if they have children near the same age group as your own. Otherwise, visit local sports clubs or the local YMCA to spread your reach.
Even finding one new friend before they move can make their first day at school and the whole moving process a 100% easier. Your children will feel more relaxed as they have someone to talk to, while the fear of not making any new friends dropped from their minds.
Whether you’re moving away from your family or your children are going to be separated with their friends, thanks to applications such as Skype, Facebook and Apple Facetime, we can stay connected even when miles apart. If your child doesn’t have a laptop or tablet computer, consider buying one for the whole family to use to keep in contact with old friends and family.
First off, your children will love having a new toy to play with, and once you show them how easy it is to make video calls to their friends, it will certainly put some of their worries to bed about never seeing their friends again.
Most parents dread moving with children because it can be a lot to handle, by getting them involved from the start and having them mentally ready for the move can end up being a really rewarding experience for everyone involved. Communicate with your children from the start to find out their biggest problems with the move and help provides remedies where possible. For any more questions about moving with children feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email, we are always happy to help!