Making moving easier on your children
Moving house is a big job and one that can be stressful for everyone involved, and we have already explored ways to make the move as easier as possible (here and here). The move can be especially hard on children, but just as you can step up the organisation to make the move simpler, there are ways to help make the move easier for your child.
This is a fairly important one to consider. Sometimes, a move is out of everyone’s hands, especially if it is for work or work opportunities. Make sure you think about the impact of the timing on your child. If they are in their VCE years for example, a change of school may not be the best option; for the sake of your child it may be better for them to stay with a relative or trusted family friend. Other school years may be less important in terms of a move, but year’s end makes for an easier change as your child can start a new year and grade with all the other students. Younger children benefit from routine – move or not – so do the best you can to maintain these routines even through the moving process.
The shift from one place to another can be made easier if your child has already walked through the new house and knows what to expect when they arrive. Allowing them to feel they are a part of the decision making can be a big part of them feeling comfortable in another house. This can be something simple like allowing them a choice of colours for their bedroom (from the range that suits the rest of the house’s décor) or allowing them to set out where furniture and possessions will be placed in the new room. On the day, older children can lend assistance but it may be better for younger children to stay with relatives or friends.
Once in the new house, keeping in touch with friends, neighbours or family from the old area is important. Technology makes this much easier – Skype or FaceTime can provide a much more personal interaction than the letter or postcard. Depending on the age of the child, sleepovers and playdates are also a great way of making the transition to a new house easier.
We touched on this with making the transition smoother: the move is about the whole family. By creating the feeling everyone is working together, each member of the family is helped to feel comfortable with the move. Allow your child to pack their own room – give them the boxes and cases they need – and oversee as little or as much as you can, depending on the age of your child. Having your child pack a bag with the items they will need the first night (longer depending on the move) and allow them choice to include their most treasured items (this may be toys, books, etc.) can give them a sense of control over the move.