Even without young children moving house is a stressful enough, but throw a child under the age of five into the mix and you have a potential recipe for disaster! However, there are a few easy steps you can take to make relocating more manageable for both you and your little ones.
Talk to them early
Once you have chosen a property and finalised a moving date, it is time to sit your child down and break the news. Because kids younger than five often have limited attention spans, it is important to adapt the information to make it simple for them to understand. Rather than trying to discuss the topic in one evening, break the news down into short snippets which you can repeat regularly over an extended period of time. In addition, see if you can find a story book that focuses on a house move to help them get their head around the concept.
Get them involved
Another way to ease the move is to ask your child how they would like to have their room decorated- this will work well with slightly older children. Let them choose the colour of the walls and perhaps even the curtains that they would like hanging at the window. However, try not to make promises that you will not be able to keep, like offering them a new pet when you know it is not a viable option- this will only let them down.
Keep the same furniture
One tip to help your child adapt to the new house is to keep the same furniture where possible, particularly in their room. Buying all new things will only make the place seem scary and unfamiliar, so try to keep the same bed, wardrobe and bedspreads. This way, when your child will enter the property for the first time they will gain a sense of security from seeing their old bits and pieces in the new surroundings.
Pack well in advance
Make the packing process a slow and gradual one by ordering moving boxes in advance. This way, the transfer of belongings from the old house into boxes will not be alarming to your child, because it will happen over a long period of time. This gives them a while to adapt to the idea, and you plenty of opportunity to answer any questions. You could even let your child help load up the cardboard moving boxes if they want to lend a hand.
Take them to the new area
If you can, try to take your child to the new area before you actually make the move. For example, if there is a play park nearby, you could spend a morning or afternoon familiarising them with the equipment. By giving the child a happy memory of the new place, they will be more willing to return to it when the time comes. If your kid is a little bit older, you could even take them to the house itself and point out where their room is going to be, and what you are going to do to the garden.
Spend moving day away
Most importantly, take your child to a friend or a relative when the moving day comes. Young children will find the process stressful and upsetting, and slightly more mature kids may feel left out when your attention is focused elsewhere. By sending your child to stay with people that they know, you can unpack their room first and get everything ready for them before they see the new house. That way, a familiar sight will greet them when they come through the door for the first time.
Chloe is an English Literature graduate with a love for words, and finds this a useful skill to have when writing about different things. She also enjoys keeping fit by going on runs and dancing in her free time.
Photo Credit: Ron Sombilon
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