Moving to a New Home with ChildrenAdmin@ | March 23, 2019 | 0 | General
Nothing is more frightening to a child than the unknown. That is why “moving away” can be very scary and uncertain for them. It is hard for them to understand that searching and moving to a new home is a very exciting time and that everyone will benefit from in the long run. Instead, children feed from structure and knowing what will happen and this encompasses their sense of home and being. If you think about it, up until this point your child’s world has consisted of going to the supermarket, school, parks and recreational activities, the bank and so on. They have all these activities mapped out in their little minds by recognizing familiar streets and landmarks, knowing what is next and feeling safe. They also know that at the end of the day of running these very familiar routes that they will end up in the most comfortable place on Earth. Home… the way they have pictured it in their minds all day, toys they have left out intentionally, the smell of home, bedtime routines with their favourite stuffed animal.
A great tip is to involve your child with packing as much as possible. Ask your local movers for packing boxes and make them special with their name on it and let them pack their favourite items. Go the extra mile by letting them help with taping the boxes, labelling it and even moving it to the moving van, but be careful not to annoy the removal company who may not appreciate having children under their feet. This will also give you the opportunity to let them decide what they want to keep, and what can be donated or discarded. Let them help with packing things around the house as well, so they know that mommy and daddy’s favourite things are right alongside with theirs.
One of the most important things about moving is to involve your child in every way possible in the new location before the packing even starts. As soon as you know for sure that a move is on the horizon, let them see the new home if possible. Show your children the home listed on the internet to give them a visual if you cannot get inside the new home right away. Next, visit the surrounding areas. Find fun things to do. Get them excited and stick to positive changes. Do some Internet searching to find interesting things to do in the new location (parks, activity centres, sledding hills, pools and/or water parks, bowling alleys, sport activities, etc.) and take them there to share new and exciting experiences. Discovering your child’s new school with them ahead of time is also a great advantage. This will embed positive change, togetherness and security in the move. This will give them a little time to get familiar with the surroundings of your new home and start mapping out the new location. By the time your family actually moves your little one will have already started making their adjustments and the transition of where “home” is will have already started to take form.
Involve your child ahead of time with how they want their new room to look. Get them really excited about this. Ask them what colour of paint they want on the walls and/or what kind of theme: stencils? Wallpaper? Posters? Do they want robots or transformers or princesses? This will be fun for both you and your child to see how excited they can get about how they want to decorate and paint their new room. It could also end up as a fun project while you are unpacking- by having them pick out or draw some images they would like stencils out of or giving them some fun kid decorating books to look at.
Pack your child’s room last, and as soon as you set foot into your new home, unpack all or most of your child’s things first. Do most of the packing when the sleeping and try to do this as close to moving day as possible. Packing up too much too soon could cause some unnecessary anxiety. It seems most of us would feel a little uneasy seeing numerous boxes around the house, clutter, the sense dysfunction. All of this is magnified for children. If necessary, hire a babysitter for a few hours to not only give you a chance to pack numerous things quickly, but also keep your child in a positive note by not letting him see the house being brought down.
When first putting the home back together, find similar patterns as to how the home was set up previously. The familiar objects arranged in similar ways will also help a child associate the new home with the one he knew and loved. Making it more exciting by keeping upbeat and positive, letting him or her make suggestions as to how things should be arranged is another plus.
Here are some quick tips to remember:
1) TOGETHER TIME: Spend as much time with them as possible before, during, and right after a move. Giving them a lot of attention and extra hugs during a big change like this will help them feel more secure and in control. Right now, they need the extra love and security so that their fear of the unknown simmers before it boils. Try to avoid unusual separations as much as possible. Stick close by and nurture them when they become upset. Try to stay as up-beat about the move as possible! To free up more together time, use as many checklists as possible during your move. This will help smooth things over, keep you organized as well as freeing up some extra time for your children.
2) ROUTINES: Stick as close to the previous schedule as possible (waking times, daytime rituals, meals, bedtime routines, etc). This will help them adjust more quickly to the new home.
3) OBJECTS. Choose a few objects from your old home to carry around with you as you are unpacking and still doing regular daily things. Be sure to include “deeper comfort” items (not just the child’s favourite toys) such as a bath toy, family photos, their artwork that had been on the fridge for the past year, and other items that will give the child comfort to see on a regular basis as they did in the old home.
4) CONCEPTS. Right off the bat in the new home, show them where things “go”. Towels go here, toothbrushes here, garbage here, your toy box is here, coats go here and so on. You will notice that they feel like they “know the place” very quickly.