Welcome to urbaneer's follow-up to our blog, Urbaneer's Tips For A Smooth Move. This time around, we're reaching out to those who will be facing moving day with young kids, an addition that changes the whole dynamic of the experience.
When I was 7, my family relocated from Oakville, Ontario to Vancouver, BC and then, at the age of 10 we moved from Vancouver to Victoria. Fortunately, living in four different places by the age of 16 wasn't traumatic for me. I think the biggest reason was how my parents handled the situation. They positioned the moves more as an 'adventure' than a 'departure from the familiar'.
However, I can see it being challenging for some kids, who may not be a part of the decision to move, or who are inherently uncomfortable with change. The solution? Kids should be given special attention and time to adjust to the transition. Here's some tips to make the process less stressful for everyone.
Help Your Children Understand Their New Home
Nothing is scarier to a child than the unknown; darkness, strangers, and unfamiliar places will undoubtedly rank high amongst their fears. Help your kids understand the new place they will call home. Show them pictures, and point out their new home on a map. Use a tool like Google Earth to look at aerial photos and explore the neighbourhood. Show them their new school. Take it a step further and find places nearby that match your kids' hobbies; spark their interest with things like parks, pizza joints, or skating rinks. Above all, make the unfamiliar unknown.
There’s a high chance your children may react with some resistance to the situation, so be an open book. Share your own excitement, but also ask them what they're feeling. Make sure that they know exactly what is happening every step of the way, beginning with house-hunting. Maybe show them on a calendar when the important dates are, including moving, the first day of school, or even just an outing to explore the new neighbouhood. Again, children fear the unknown, so transparency is key.
Familiar Items Will Ease The Transition
Allow your kids to pack a suitcase or box with their most prized possessions. Not only does this involve them in the packing process, offering a semblance of control, but it also assuages any fear that their best-loved belongings won't get lost along the way. In fact, if you can, bring the box in the car with you, so they know exactly where their favourite things are. The first night in your new home will be much easier on your kids if they have a selection of their belongings close at hand, even before the unpacking begins. As for the rest of their possessions, it helps to load them into the moving truck last, so they will be the first out. (A fantastic moving company like Cargo Cabbie will be happy to be your co-conspirator in this! Just let them know you read this blog). If you're moving a long distance and paring down your belongings due to cost or space, have you kids pick their favourite toys to keep and then teach them the merits of donating the rest to other kids in need. Or have them sell their own possessions in a garage sale and let them keep the money for new toys of their choosing once you've moved. With this incentive towards change comes reward!
The Power Of Books
There are some terrific books for kids of all ages that help children transition to a new home. Check out 7 Great Children’s Books About Moving for some awesome ideas. Or consider getting crafty with construction paper and crayons and make a 'Book Of Home'. Have your children draw their bedrooms, or your home and the neighbourhood. Print out photos of your home to glue onto the pages. By creating a little momento together it will help your kids process the transition.
Arrange A Proper Goodbye... And Hello
Encourage your children to say goodbye to the home they've known; it's important to enforce the right to be sad, and encourage mourning. Walk your kids through each room, and invite them to share their happiest memories of each space. Afterwards, reassure them that new memories will be made in their new home, which will be just as happy and treasured. Take this a step further and explore the new residence in the same manner, pointing out where each of their familiar daily rituals will take place, while they offer their own suggestions. Instill an excitement at this new beginnings, while reassuring them that while the place may be different, Home is where you are. And if you can, let them choose their own bedrooms or play space.
Keep Them Busy
The actual moving day can be the hardest of all, but remember that all of your careful preparation will make this day much easier. On a practical note, ensure that your children have small manageable tasks to busy themselves with. This will keep them out of the fray, make them feel part of the day, and free you up to coordinate more complicated matters. If you're worried that seeing the house slowly empty will be a traumatic experience, have a family member or babysitter organize a fun activity or play date to keep them occupied and away from the movers. Furthermore, plan distractions for the car ride, like travel games or a new toy. (Need some ideas? Check out these Top Toys of 2015!)
Have Pets? Here's our past blog called 8 Simple Rules To Moving With Dogs that will help your furry friend transition into a new Home Sweet Home too. It's part of Monika's Animal House series on urbaneer.com!
At Urbaneer, we're invested in your housing happiness. Whether you're buying or selling - the journey can be emotionally, mentally, and physically intense. That's why we pride ourselves on our steady hand, prudent counsel, and our follow-through from start to finish with practical tips and tricks to ease your stress.
Have questions? Please know we’re here to help!
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