Moving with children presents an additional wrinkle. The idea of living in a new home takes some getting used to, especially if it’s in a far-off neighborhood. Young children may sulk at the idea of having to leave their friends and familiar surroundings behind.
Take heart – there are things you can do to make it a pleasant experience for them. Here are tips on preparing young children for a move:
Before the move
When getting ready to relocate, one of the most important things you have to do is inform your children – the sooner, the better. This will give them time to adjust to the idea. It will also give them time to say goodbye to their playmates.
Telling them at the last minute will likely upset them, and you might end up having to calm them down if they throw tantrums.
Highlight the positives of the move:
- Will they be getting nicer rooms in the new house?
- Is your family living closer to relatives whom they’ll get to see more frequently?
- Is the house near a park with a children’s playground?
Gamely answer any questions they might have, such as why the family needs to move, and so on.
You’ll need to assure them that everyone is coming along, so they won’t have to think that they’ll be going alone or that they’ll get left behind.
Organize a leaving party for them and their friends if you can. You can also collect their friends’ contact information so that your children can stay in touch.
During the move
It would be ideal to have someone look after your children on the day of the move. A friend, neighbor, family member, or babysitter can assist you.
However, if you’re unable to find help, you’ll need to explain to your children what exactly is happening, as well as what they should expect. Depending on their age, you can give them small tasks to do on the moving date, such as making sure that all toys are packed and ready.
For very young children, it would be helpful to set up a playpen where they can stay and keep themselves amused. This lets you coordinate with the movers and still keep an eye on them.
Try to arrive at the new home before the movers so that your children will have the chance to explore the place.
When the movers arrive, show them the boxes where their toys are. However, don’t let them unpack until the furniture has been set up to keep their toys from getting destroyed by accident.
Unpack your children’s toys first, and set up their room as soon as you can. Make sure that they have access to their favorite toys and things they use all the time. The sight of as many familiar things around them will make them feel more comfortable.
You can unpack your kitchenware next, so that you’ll be able to prepare food for them when they get hungry.
Your children will also appreciate it if you can make yourself more available within the first few days of moving. With enough patience and consistency, your children will learn to love your new home. And you will find that moving with children doesn’t have to be more difficult.
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