We’ll never say moving house is easy – and that goes for children too! Your children will have to contend with changing schools, making new friends, and leaving their old neighbourhood behind. These big changes aren’t just difficult for children to manage – they can be difficult for you too. If you’re planning on moving house with children, have a browse through this article (which, as always, should only be taken as a guide – every move is different!) to help make sure that even though your move might not be easy, it’ll be as stress-free as possible for your little ones.
Before you move
If you’ve got young children or toddlers who have never lived anywhere else, or your older children are settled with school and clubs, it’s important to keep them in the loop when you’re deciding to make the move. Letting them know you’re considering moving (even if you’ve already signed all the paperwork!), listening to and valuing their feelings and opinions keeps them from feeling left out and confused.
Try to find episodes of their favourite cartoons, or books that discuss moving house. The idea of moving into a new home may never have even occurred to your children, but learning about it from a favourite character can help to soften the blow and get them excited about their new space. Chances are your older kids aren’t going to be too interested in the academic standards at their new school, so look for nearby parks, leisure centres and after-school clubs they can start to get excited about instead.
Make sure your property is safe (and childproof!)
Before you move with your children, it’s a good idea to instruct a property survey to make sure there are no hidden defects that might lead to an unsafe environment for your family. A RICS accredited surveyor can identify any problems and advise you on how best to rectify them so you’re sure that your new home will be safe and secure for your children.
Packing to move house with children
The packing process is a great time to go through your childrens’ toys, clothes and other belongings; donating anything that doesn’t fit or doesn’t get played with, and organising the rest before it’s packed away.
You can make packing fun for the whole family. Encourage slightly older children to decorate their packing boxes with felt pens, stickers or crayons to break up the process and prevent boredom. You could hide little treats such as sweets or stickers in each box so they’re excited to unpack them at the other end. Even if they’re too little to fully understand what’s happening, getting the whole family involved in starting your next chapter is a nice way to make some memories to take with you to your new home.
During the move
When it comes to moving day, you’ve got a few options. You could choose to make the move at night time, when your little ones are likely to sleep through the bulk of the journey; or travel during the day, and spread out your journey to prevent bored and cranky kids – which of course leads to stressed parents!
Before you leave, have your kids pack a bag for the journey with a couple of snacks (which can be replenished along the way!), a bottle of water, some of their favourite toys and books, or a game console to keep them entertained. If they’re reluctant, try buying them a small treat, like their favourite sweets or a new game for their console for them to enjoy during the journey.
If you’re moving across the country, try to break up your journey to avoid the dreaded “are we there yet?”! Enjoy a meal as a family (even if it’s just at a drive-through) and try to find something fun to do at each stop, from taking a silly family photo to taking a short walk to stretch your legs.
Even with the best removals service, there’s always a chance that some (or all!) of your furniture doesn’t arrive at your new home at the same time you do. Prepare your little ones for this, or even make a feature of it. Plan to enjoy your first night in your new house together, almost as if you’re camping. Put down some blankets and pillows, and play a film on your laptop, phone or tablet if you’ve not unpacked your TV yet.
Try to have a fixed idea of whose bedroom is whose before you arrive. This will prevent any fights about who gets the ‘big’ bedroom, or the one with the best view! Encourage older children to take their own boxes to their own room, and unpack at their pace. It can be overwhelming for them, so give them time to adjust.
Moving house with children can seem like a daunting task. Keep in mind that you’re moving for a reason – whether it’s to accommodate for a growing family, to be able to start a new job or career, or to move nearer to extended family – and encourage your family to keep this in mind when things start to get stressful!
Remember to get in touch if you’d like to enquire about booking a property survey for your new home, and we hope your whole family enjoys the next chapter of your lives!