Moving house can be an incredibly difficult time. The stress of packing up your belongings, hiring a removals company, and leaving your family home is only exacerbated when you have young children to take care of as well.
The process can be painful for families, but especially for children who are powerless to influence the decision and may struggle with some of the consequences. Recent research conducted at Boston College found that “moves during both early and middle childhood were associated with decreases in children’s social skills and increases in emotional and behavior problems.”
Moving home is becoming unavoidable for young parents with growing families. The average person in the UK will move 8 times during their lifetime, meaning the process will likely be endured by numerous children.
Through ensuring the most efficient process possible, you can keep the stress down for everyone.
Planning the day
Making your move less stressful involves preparation, the earlier you inform your children what’s happening – the better.
It’s important to involve your children as much as possible, explain why the move will be positive and answer any questions they have. Try and turn it into one big adventure. To do this, let your children pack their own things and personalise their boxes. If you are using a removals company, ask them to put your children’s toy boxes on last. This way they will be to play with their things at your new house as you unpack.
It’s important to keep children positive during the moving process. Fortunately, removal companies are coming to the aid of parents by finding new and innovative ways to make moving house more fun for kids. For example, Any Van has recently launched box forts, an initiative that turns the boredom of packing on its head by encouraging children to turn removal boxes into castles.
Just as it’s important to give yourself enough time to properly pack, it is important to give your children time to get used to the idea. If your child is of school age, give them time to say goodbye to friends and, if possible, make sure they have a way to stay in touch.
The journey to your new home
In 2015, the average distance of a move was 52 miles and for a child this might as well be a world away. It means a new town, a new school and new friends, as well as a potentially long and tedious car ride.
To keep your child entertained when travelling to your new home, encourage them to play games. For example, they could draw what their new bedroom will look like, or try and spot the removals van. For this, flight comparison company Skyscanner have come up with 10 car game favourites to help keep children content during boring road trips.
If your new house isn’t quite ready make sure you treat the time spent in temporary accommodation as a family holiday. Fill the transition between homes with fun activities. You can do this throughout the process, especially as sometimes packing and unpacking can become tedious for children.
Arriving at your new home
After the removals company has brought in all your boxes you might be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief before starting the long process of unpacking.
This process should be easier if you packed with the layout of the new house in mind. Unpacking should be just as tactical as packing. The process will almost definitely take a lot out of you, so don’t try and take everything on at once. Unpack your children’s toys first so they can play happily as you get to work.
Unpack only essential boxes such as bedding, cooking utensils and toiletries. Moving in can make us feel revitalised, however it can also feel strange. Make sure your children keep to their routine as much as possible, you can do this by sticking to regular dinner times and bedtimes.
Moving house can be stressful, however it is important to remember that moving is often beneficial for both children and adults. Of course, it is possible that your child will be relatively indifferent to moving house. Similarly, it’s possible that your child finds the process exciting and enjoyable.
However, your child may struggle to adapt and it is important to remember that this is through no fault of your own. If you stick to routines and utilise the support of family members this will help you get past these difficulties.
If the move involves a new school, let them stay off for a few days so they have time to adjust to their new surroundings. This may help you as well, after all moving takes its toll on everyone.
Parents shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, nor should they worry too much. Moving house is often a positive experience, and can actually provide the opportunity to bond with and learn more about your child. In fact, according to Net Doctor, moving can even help your child become more independent.