Buying a new house and planning a move may be as much stress as you think you can handle.
But remember that it is likely to be a particularly trying time for your children as well.
Routines are understandably disrupted in major ways during moving and sensitive planning can help all family members, especially young children, better cope with the impending changes.
One of the keys with children is to break the news about moving as soon as possible.
Kids need to get used to the idea of moving so give them as much advance warning as you can. Provide them with as much information as possible about why the family is moving and what they can expect in their new home and suburb.
Some tips on moving house with children include:
Ask children to share their feelings with you. Although you’ll personally be going through a range of emotions, the experts say that it is very important to be there so your children can voice the feelings they are encountering. Listen to what they have to say and assure them that you understand any concerns they have.
Don’t take their reactions personally. Children can have problems adjusting to a move and can blame a parent or parents for causing it. Don’t take it personally if this happens. Explain that sometimes big decisions can’t be avoided.
Make them a part of the process. If the child is old enough, let them help to pack some of their favourite items. It can help them understand that although the family will be in a new home, their belongings will stay with them. Personalise their boxes with labels and stickers.
Be cautiously optimistic. It is important to be positive and optimistic because your children’s attitude will largely mirror yours. But don’t insist everything is going to be wonderful. Even if the new house is fantastic, it may still take time to adjust.
Explore the new neighbourhood. If you’re moving to a new suburb or town, use maps and other information from your local council or the Internet to explain where you’ll be living. Explain differences in weather and geography and talk about any nearby attractions that may be interesting, such as moving closer to the beach or to a park.
Try to keep a routine. A child’s world is based on routine and it’s important to try and keep some semblance of normalcy through the process. Stick to a set time for dinner every evening, no matter how chaotic things seem to be and maintain regular activities which the family enjoys.
For younger children and toddlers, it can be useful to speak to your doctor about issues such as a new diet or the start of toilet training. It may be better to put any further experiences on hold until you’ve settled into your new home.