Helping children through the house moving process...
It’s widely understood that moving home can be one of life’s more stressful undertakings for those involved. But what about our children? How does moving house feel when you are knee-high tall, and your bedroom is your whole world? And what can we do as parents to help our children through this life-changing event?
Experts seem to agree that open communication is the key: “Talk to children about the move and do it early to give them as much time as possible to get used to the idea. Tell the children all about their new home and give them lots of facts and information appropriate for their age group and level of understanding.” (Moving house – making it less stressful for children, (2005 Feb 16). Retrieved from http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/parenting/a9131/moving-house-making-it-less-stressful-for-children/)
So involving children in the process is one of the best ways to help them with the transition. This may include taking your children to property viewings. As an agency, we understand family life and welcome children at viewings. We also offer a second viewing wherever possible, which might be an ideal opportunity to bring your children along, after you have already ruled out the properties that are not for you.
It’s important for children, on the whole, to have a sense of stability, so it’s a good idea to try to avoid too much change in one go. For example, changes to bedroom furniture and furnishings could be delayed until a later date. Also, take the time to explain to young children that their personal belongings will be moved with them. For older children, it might be beneficial to spend time getting them used to the area surrounding your new home, for example, by taking walks and visiting nearby shops, parks or even activity clubs as older children will have wider interests that the just home itself.
Finally, I think it’s important to be realistic about the time it takes for children to adjust to moving house. Some suggest 6-8 weeks as a reasonable adjusting period. I know that my children took some time to adjust to our house move when they were ages 3 and 6, but I also know that they had completely forgotten our ‘old house’ after a year! So life does go on…