We all know that moving home can be one of the most stressful things that we can do but often we do it because the place that we are moving to will be nicer for us. However whilst adults tend to focus their energy on the practical decision they will feel as a result of the move, a child will feel the loss of friends that they have made and also the safe family home that they have been used to. It is always the adult’s choice to move home and not the child’s and in terms of severity, a house move comes second to losing one of our close relatives and is ahead of losing our job, suffer illness or go through a divorce.
However a house move that is well planned and properly structured can result in far less distress for all concerned, especially the children. So how can you make the move the least stressful for the children?
Firstly you should involve the children in the move from the outset because this allows them time to get used to the idea of the move. Explain the new home to them and try and think of all the good points about their new home so that they think of the move as a good thing in their lives. If you have very young children you will find that their attention spans are very short so just have brief chats about the move and then move onto something else and bring the topic up again later. Make sure that if they have a question about the move then you are fully prepared with all the answers for them. A child cannot be involved in the decision of which house to buy and where but you can certainly involve them in choosing the colour of their new bedroom. This will allow them to be more involved in the move process and will make them more excited about the prospect. Try and take your child to the new house a few times before the move so they know what to expect and it allows them to picture things in their head, it makes things more real for them.
The easiest age for children to move is when they are five years and under because they rely totally on their parents for their security and as long as they are with their parents then it really does not matter too much about the effect a house move will have on them. If they are explained to simply and often they will absorb the information about the move quite easily. People who have moved home with young children in the past find that it is best not to introduce new furniture into a child’s bedroom during the move, mainly because their effects are their security, introducing new furniture can sometimes create insecurity whilst their old things are familiar to them.
A child who is school age is harder to deal with than a younger one because they will have to probably move schools and make new friends. Previous clients have found that there is no good time during the year to move home for a child who is of school age. Move during the summer holidays and your child has more time to get used to the idea of the move and the new school and will be making a fresh start with all the others but they will also be away from all of their old friends for the entire holidays. Your child will also find it hard during the holidays to make new friends because they have not started school yet so you will need to keep your child entertained at a time when things are quite manic for you with the house move.
If your child is of teenage years then on the one hand they will understand the concept of the move and what it entails much more than a younger child but they are also going to feel the effects of the move more than them. Teenagers moving home will be leaving behind a group of friends that they have grown up with or they may be in an early relationship with a boy or girl, making it that much harder to move. Teenagers want to be accepted so starting a new school and making new friends at their age is very hard so you need to be aware of this when moving home. Above all listen to them and respect their feelings.
When the move actually takes place it is usually around six weeks for a child to get used to their new surroundings so you will need to give them time. Often a house move has a positive impact on all the family if it is carried out correctly and thoughtfully. An efficient house move requires detailed planning and communication so in some respects in can actually bring the family closer together. Some past clients have actually found that their house move made their child a lot more independent than they were before and made them grow as an individual.
Therefore if you are moving home in the UK or abroad in the coming future and you have children it is best to prepare them properly for the impending move and remember that communication and planning is key to a successful home move.
Here is a great article that can help you plan your move down to every last item and bill.