Moving home is stressful! You start by getting all those niggly DIY tasks finished off, maybe treat your home to a lick of paint for its new owners to repaint as soon as they move in, you compare estate agents and find the best agent to sell your home, you view new homes to move into and finally settle on the perfect one. You deal with estate agents, chase conveyancers and fill out tons of paperwork… you book your removals company & pack your treasured possessions into boxes and finally, after what seems like a lifetime, you will get to moving day.
But imagine that process through the eyes of a child – and how it may feel for them moving home, leaving all that they know behind.
Some children respond very well to moving – excited about the prospect of a new home to explore and the adventures to be had, whereas other children find it very difficult to adjust to their new surroundings. Preparing your child(ren) is an important aspect of moving home, and something which can easily be missed in the hustle and bustle of moving. Here, the GetAgent team share some key tools you can use to help prepare your little ones for moving day…
Involve the children & discuss
Avoid taking young children to lots of house viewings as this can not only be difficult for them to understand, but create confusion about which home will be theirs. For younger ones, spend time discussing what it means to sell a house, prepare them for what will happen when it comes to packing the house up and reassure them that all the family possessions will arrive at the new house. Discussion opens grounds for children to voice concerns, and for your to model calm energy towards moving.
Visit the new area
This allows children to actually picture themselves in their new environment, developing positive connotations and creating plans, past the house move, to look forward to. These plans can help children focus on the future, rather than the pressure and stress a house move is causing.
Building excitement allows children room for creating positivity instead of negative associations with moving home. Additionally, giving them choices provides a sense of control in a scenario where they have very little control in what happens.
Pack a Special Box
Allow them to decorate their own box with felt tips & stickers, making it unique and noticeable (this will also keep them busy for at least 10 minutes!). In this box they can pack their important items; special memory box, a few choice toys, special blanket, favorite book etc. Also allow them to choose PJ’s for the first night in their new home, clothes for the next day so everything they may need, is all in one place.
Ensure this box travels with your children in the car, and is one of the first boxes to be taken out and into their new room giving them a sense of control over their items and familiarity.
Signs of stress
- Modified behaviour: thumb sucking, wetting the bed, wetting themselves, ‘acting out’ or feeling insecure to be left alone. Additionally reduction in food consumption, or reduction or increase in sleep can be signs of stress.
- Modified Language: regression language such a baby talk, being overly quiet or speaking with a different accent.
- Modified mood: withdrawal from activities which they used to enjoy, ‘going off’ favourite toys or friends, seeming fearful in situations they are usually fine within.
Stress comes in lots of shapes and forms for children, and it’s important for us as parents to identify and deal with it quickly. With preparation, discussion, plans and support, children will quickly settle into their new home… If you are at all worried about your child, please do seek the advice from your GP.