One of the biggest projects a family can have is a house move. Not only do you have to choose somewhere new to live, it’s usually to an entirely new location, meaning you have a lot of research to do! Moving house can be stressful but when you throw children into the mix, it’s more complicated. Trying to sort through clothes and furniture, pack boxes and arrange for it all to be transported while entertaining children… if you can avoid it and get a babysitter, get one.
It’s a big upheaval for a family, but more so for children. Before you decide to move, make a list of reasons why you’re moving. Is it for more space? Wanting a better area for the children to grow up in? Do you want to expand the family you have so need more bedrooms? There are a lot of reasons for a house move, and while adults tend to think about the practicalities, children are just seeing changes. It’s all well and good doing research into the nearby beautiful towns that would be perfect for you to raise your family in, but if the children are going to feel the pressures of the move you have to make sure it’s worth it.
Before you get started on the actual move, talk to the kids. Give them gentle notice, so if you have older children start dropping it into conversation six months or so in advance. Tell them about their new house and if you are moving completely out of the area, take them for a stroll through the new neighbourhood. Make sure to point out lots of positives, such as parks with swings and play equipment as well as the vicinity to the nearest cinema or bowling alley. For younger children, they have a shorter attention span and therefore you’ll need to just mention it to them occasionally so they can be mentally prepared, but they won’t sit and have a full conversation about a new house.
Thankfully, children are quite flexible when it comes to big changes for the most part and they take a house move in their stride. When it comes to having the lure of new bedrooms to help you decorate and sleep in, it gets a little easier to make them feel excited. Some children, however, react quite badly to change and their personality may take on a more churlish note. Teenagers who are happy in their homes may not care for the move but ultimately you will know what’s best for them.
Expect a little disruption from the children before you move. Explain that their favourite toys will be unpacked again in the new house and get them involved in the packing process so that they can feel like they have an input. Make the first night in the new house like a big campout and order food in to eat on the floor. The novelty of a carpet picnic can really go a long way to settling them in.