Top tips ... moving to a new home with children
Before Moving Day
- Visit the new house with your children. Familiarise yourselves with the area -- parks, library and local pool.
- If visiting is not possible take photos of the new house for them to keep.
- Keep them involved and in the loop.
- Allow your child enough time to adjust to the idea of moving. Depending on your child's age and emotional maturity, gauge when to tell them. Older children, especially teenagers, will need longer, while little ones might be confused to know too soon.
"Read children's books about moving together," says parent coach Marian Byrne.
"Let your children know they are part of a team. Involve them by asking questions like, 'What colour will we paint the kitchen/bedroom?'"
On Moving Day
- If possible arrange for someone to take the children for the day. The sight of the house emptying could be disconcerting.
- If the children are at home, giving them jobs will allow them feel part of things, like packing their toys.
- Invest in some new DVDs. These will also come in handy at the unpacking stage. Also, the odd treat for the kids wouldn't go amiss!
What You'll Need
- Pack an essentials bag for the day. Include favourite toys, pyjamas, toilet paper, bed linen and towels. Also cups, drinks, bread and cheese, snacks -- and the number for your new local Chinese!
- Set up their bedroom as soon as you arrive, filling it with familiar items.
- Quickly re-establish your household routine.
- Once you've settled in have a special meal to celebrate.
Keep Talking And Listening
- Throughout the process encourage your child to share their feelings.
- Share your feelings. Talk about the things you'll miss and the things you are looking forward to.
- Allow them to reminisce. Gently bring the conversation round to the present. "Yes, that day was fun. I wonder what fun days we will have here?"
- Children take their cues from us. Stay upbeat about the move.
- Take time throughout each day to give hugs and reassurance.
And Remember ...
- Even if you, the parent, are less than happy about the move you will be able to smooth the way for your child. "Moving house offers a huge opportunity to show them that change happens and life goes on."