Moving house is often cited as one of life’s most stressful events. Throw in screaming toddlers and stroppy teenagers into the mix and you’ve got all the makings of a minor meltdown.
Don’t just take our word for it though.
In a poll of 2,000 adults who had recently moved house, two in three (61%) claimed the process to be top of their stress list. Some even claimed the anxiety to be akin with starting a new job or even a divorce.
Consider that this only takes in the views of adults and its easy to understand why moving house can prove particularly distressing and worrying for children.
That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step list of things to consider when moving with children. Whether they are still in nappies or ready or soon to be leaving the nest.
Many children will have only ever lived in one house. They go to the school in the local area, have made friends there and see their life as inextricably linked with that home.
Moving home, even if its just to another part of town, can therefore prove stressful if not adequately planned and accounted for.
Much will also depend on the child’s age. Moving with a baby or toddler, will carry very different demands to that of a teenager. You will need to give them lots of reassurance throughout, and ensure you keep them well entertained and comfortable.
To aid you in this process, we’ve put together a list of tips to ensure everything goes according to plan when you move house with children.
One of the main reasons children get distressed when moving house is that they feel they are getting left behind or simply have no say in the matter.
Depending on the child’s age, you can give them the responsibility of packing their own things. Their box might not be the mostly neatly packed or organised, but it will give them a sense of reward.
If you have your doubts about your child’s attention span for packing, you could instead ask them to help out with other tasks, such as labelling or making up boxes. Even just giving them their own cardboard box to play with can help make the process more fun.
Getting them involved with the process makes them feel valued and can ease fears. Remember, its their home too, so letting them make decisions, no matter how trivial, can help ease some of the anxiety.
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This point appears to fly in the face of the above. However, for some children the imagery of seeing their home piled onto a truck can prove too upsetting. Children are also incredibly intuitive and can pick up on any stress signals you are giving off.
It might be easier therefore to have a friend or relative look after them on the day. This doesn’t mean they are not involved. But rather, when it comes to the actual ‘moving’ this can be better managed in stages.
Before taking them to the new house, you might also want to consider taking them on an outing. Nothing eases a child into a new home like a trip to the park or picking up their favourite takeaway.
Leading on from the point above it is important to manage and minimise any possible disruptions and stress.
Arranging the date you move house outside of term-time prevents disruption to their schooling routine and allows you more time to plan out and effectively manage your move.
If they are going to be moving to a new school this allows them more time to settle and make new friends.
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Be sure to pack comfort items and entertainment. There’s nothing that unhinges a house move quite like a bored child!
For small children make sure they have access to their favourite toys, night lights, games, etc. Teenagers can prove a bit more difficult to please but take the time to listen to them. Give them attention where warranted and take time out to help them adjust.
You should also consider packing food and plastic plates/cutlery. This will allow you to sort out lunches and dinner as soon as you arrive. Hungry and grumpy kids is no way to start life in your new home.
When you arrive at your new home, unpack their items first. This will help them to settle and get acquainted with their new surroundings more quickly.
Try to keep things consistent and use the same curtains and bed sheets, atleast initially. A somewhat unconventional tip is to leave the sheets uncleaned. The same sights and smells can help children adjust to their new home and uncleaned sheets for one week will do them no harm.
Sorting out their room first also leaves you free to get on with unpacking the rest of the house while they are busy playing in their new room.
Download our ‘How To Move House With Children’ Infographic
Of course, the easiest way to relieve stress, both for you and your kids, is to call in the professionals.
GoodMove are a flexible and friendly removals company with over 35 years’ experience moving families and individuals around the UK and overseas. We can pack as much or as little as you wish, supplying only the highest quality packing materials.
Should you require it we also offer modern, clean and secure storage facilities at our units on site in Colchester. We can take care of your belongings and even arrange to deliver them to your new home at a time convenient to yoiu.
To find out more about how GoodMove can help plan and manage your move, give us a call today on the number listed above. Alternatively, fill out a quick quote form and a member of our friendly customer service team will be in touch shortly.
Sean Delaney is a creative copywriter with his finger on the pulse for all the latest happenings in the removals industry. He authors in-depth guides and blog content on selling your house, packing, moving and all the legal and insurance jargon in between. In addition to writing for GoodMove, he also provides editorial and copywriting services for a range of clients across the legal and recruitment sectors.