PLANNING A MOVE WITH CHILDREN

Credit: Downsizing Diva

As the school year starts, life’s busyness is awaiting for your return. With your children going back to school and work getting busier, the thought of moving crosses your mind. Perhaps it may not be the best time to plan for a move, but it definitely is a quieter time for moving.

A lot of people may think that moving with children is challenging. It definitely is true.

When your family is moving, children and teenagers require special consideration and attention. As adults, we may not know what they are feeling or thinking about when the family has decided to move.

They may experience a sense of loss if they are leaving a place they lived in for most of their lifetime; a familiar neighbour, friends, schools and their favourite place to play. Fear of the unknown can also be a factor. Even if the children are very young, they might absorb their parents’ stress and develop negative feelings about the move.

How to make the transition to a new home as smooth as possible for them
  • Involve them from the beginning. Older children will particularly appreciate being part of the decision-making. Be sure they understand the reasons for the move.
  • Listen to their worries and suggestions. They may express their true feelings which would allow you to address them.
  • Talk about your own feelings. You will be conveying your attitudes about the move whether you realize it or not and that will definitely affect how you children comprehend the move.
  • Engage them by having them help in sorting and disposing of their own things. They can also partake in the packing process and see that the things they love most will be part of their new home.
  • If time and distance permit, take your children to see the new home as early in the process as possible. Take the time to explore the community together and begin planning how your family will connect to new people and places. If you are not able to visit, show your children pictures of the new home and go online together to research and learn as much about the community as possible.
  • Plan ways to remain connected to your current neighbourhood. Plan return visits to be part of familiar events and celebrations. Arrange reciprocal visits with friends and other ways to maintain in touch. The continuity will be comforting for the whole family.
  • Move during the school year. It is very common for families to schedule moves at the end of the school year, during summer. This is the most popular season for moving as weather conditions permit smoother moves. However, moving with children has a different perspective. Moving during the school year will allow your children to have a chance at making friends and becoming familiar with the new school.
  • On moving day, spend time to say goodbye. Talk with your children about your happy memories. Take pictures of your favourite places for memory’s sake.

Very young children may be happier on moving day in the company of grandparents, other relatives or close friends. No matter how well planned and executed your move is, this is a busy, confusing and hectic day, demanding all of the parents’ energy and attention. Not only do younger children not help out but they also hinder the process. If they have to be on site, have someone delegated to take care of them, answer their questions and make sure they are fed and entertained will definitely take the burden off the parents and ensure a happier moving day for all.