Moving house with kids
I’m a bit of a serial house mover. You see I like a ‘project’, houses that need a bit of TLC, or the odd wall knocked down to make them into great family homes. I blame it on genetics, my grandmother moved house 17 times in 51 years!
We recently moved house again for the last time (until the kids leave school anyway). It was a bit of a revelation moving house without being a) heavily pregnant or b) breastfeeding a small child which is something I managed on the 3 previous moves.
Moving house can be traumatic, even as an adult, so how do you help your kids to cope with moving house? Here are a few top tips:
a) If you’ve got more than a two bed flat or two adults and a small child to move, pay for professional movers. I can honestly say that it’s worth saving to pay for this as it makes the whole experience SO much better. The first two moves that we did as a family we moved ourselves with the aid of a ‘man with a van’. The second time took us a whole weekend to finally clear out our old house and get into our new one and I swore never again.
Our last two moves have been using a local removal company. We paid a small amount extra for them to pack for us and this time we also paid a little extra for them to put things back together again.
Having them pack for you means that there is very little disruption in your house until the day of your move which really helps to keep a sense of normality and routine that is so important for children. This time our movers put all the kids cabin beds and cots back together again which was just brilliant as their new bedrooms immediately felt like theirs again. If this had been left for us to do, we would still (almost two weeks later) be struggling with them.
b) Try to get your kids involved with the process.
If possible take your kids with you on at least one viewing of the house that you’re moving to. Try to establish who will get which bedroom so they can start getting excited about it. Explain carefully that all their things will come from one house to the other (including bed, toys, Mummy & Daddy) and it’s just the house that you’ll be leaving.
On the day of the move, help them to pack a bag for themselves, choosing which things they absolutely need to find on their first night in their new bedroom - favourite toys, nightwear and bedtime books, so they are all to hand.
If the kids are being looked after on the day of the house move, ask them to create a picture to go on the wall of your new house, something that makes their mark.
c) Let school or nursery know
With our last but one house move, our no2 son was a bit anxious. We explained to nursery, who did lots of ‘moving house’ role plays and got him to do a picture of his new house (which remained in the porch until just before we moved again). It definitely helped prepare him and removed some of the anxiety.
If your older kids are at school, it’s worth letting school know that things might not run so smoothly for a week or two. My eldest has had difficulty completing homework for school as we haven’t had internet access, so we dropped his teacher a line.
d) Try not to coincide with any other big changes.
This isn’t always possible, especially if you’re moving to another area, but if you’re moving house, try not to change anything else for your little ones. This is one that I should have considered this time as my youngest also moved from nursery to a childminder at the same time and is quite unsettled as a result - not helped by the house move.
Almost 2 weeks after moving house and we’ve emptied most of the boxes and packed most things away - now the real work starts! As always, if you’ve got any top tips you’d like to share, please feel free to leave us a comment…..