Don’t turn moving house with children into a drama. If you have to live out a scenario, turn the story into a great adventure for you and your children.
Moving house is quite a challenge, even when you’re alone, or are just a couple. The challenge is even greater if there’s a child involved, no matter what age. But if the move is necessary, it’s also necessary to face it in the best possible way, so that, in the end, you’ll have the good feeling of being in a new house, with a good start of a new life for you and your children. No matter how challenging the practical part of moving, the dislocation and transportation of your belongings, may seem to you, the positive side is still the most important: the move itself only lasts a day or two, but the fact of living in a new place is marked and is well absorbed by a child who is more open to change.
Play fair and be positive
Dialogue is always the best way to help children understand. Therefore, don’t underestimate their feelings and opinions, always be forthright and involve them in the process. An important step is taking them to see their new home before moving in. There, show them all the advantages of the house and the place, talking about the opportunities they’ll have for playing and making new friends. Besides that, whenever you talk about moving in their hearing, avoid a negative tone. If there’s a strong attachment to the present residence or neighborhood, remind them that they can always visit, and that their ties to the place won’t be broken.
Seek help for the move
A valuable tip to make your life easier is to count on help. If you feel the move is too heavy a burden for you to shoulder alone, seek professional help and leave the packing of your belongings, the dismounting and mounting of your furniture, and their transportation in the hands of specialized professionals.
Before you move
Separate what you’re taking yourself from what will be taken by the movers. Pack a bag for yourself and another one for the children, with clothes, diapers, towels, etc. Let the children take part in choosing the toys they want on hand. For the adults, separate jewelry, cameras, computers, documents and other valuable belongings. Depending on how far away you’re moving, prepare a food kit.
Best time for moving
It isn’t always easy to choose when to move, but, ideally, it should be done during the children’s school vacation. If possible, avoid adding the move to other big changes in a child’s life, such as toilet training, stopping breast feeding, or changing from cradle to bed.
If possible, leave the children with a family member or close friends. The ideal is to leave the children in a comfortable place, at least on the first day, so you are free to clean and arrange your new home.
Moving done and house set up
Listen to your child: with the house all set up, show it to the child room by room, listening to his (her) opinions, and asking for suggestions. It’s also nice to let the child decide on the decoration of his (her) bedroom, encouraging him (her) to take an active part in the new home, creating a feeling of belonging.
Starting life in a new neighborhood
Explore the neighborhood and its surroundings. Show the children a map and point out all the positive aspects. Later, go on tours of the neighborhood and of attractive places nearby, such as shopping malls, beaches, parks and squares.
Don’t disown the past
If possible, don’t cut the ties your children have to friends in the old neighborhood. Invite their friends to visit the new house, and take your children to spend an afternoon in the old neighborhood, to show them that the friendships continue, though farther apart.