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Moving with Children
Whether you are moving abroad or moving in the UK, moving with children doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Depending on your children’s age, you can involve them in the moving process, and by emphasizing the exciting side of the move, you will help them embrace the adventure.
- Tell your children about the move as soon as possible – As soon as you have any definite plans, tell your older children about the move. Give many details, and do not wait until the last minute – they shouldn’t hear it from someone else. This way, they’ll have time to adjust to the new circumstances, and say goodbye to their friends.
- Think about your children’s school – If you have school-aged children, you should ideally move in the summer, as changing schools during the year can be an unnecessarily stressful experience. It is also important to look for suitable schools in the area where you are going, and to involve your children in choosing a new school. Starting the new school year in a school that your children like will be a much more positive experience for them rather than rushing the move.
- Pay attention to your children and talk to them – When organising the move, you might have less time to spend with your children. But they are also going through a potentially upsetting change, so it’s always important to answer any of their questions and concerns patiently.
- Involve your children in choosing the new house – If your children are old enough, you can easily involve them in choosing the new home, which will make them feel as part of the process, and will definitely get them excited. Once you’ve narrowed the choices down, take your kids to the potential houses if possible, where they’ll be able to familiarise themselves with the new area, and contribute to the family discussions about the move, and the choice.
- Involve the children in packing and the moving process – Creating a sense of team-work and giving your children age-specific tasks will get them more excited about the move. Allow them to arrange and pack their own rooms, and if they are older, participate in the actual planning as well. You should also let them make plans about their new rooms, think about the decoration, colour of the walls, curtains, and new furniture.
- Encourage your children to say goodbye and keep in touch – While teenagers won’t need much assistance to keep in touch with their old friends, younger children might need encouragement and reassurance when saying goodbye. Try to organise a leaving party for your smaller children and their friends, and keep in touch with their parents. Your children might also need reassurance that they will see their old friends again.
- Moving day – Younger children should stay with relatives or friends. This will make the transition smoother and create less confusion for the children. Always pack the kids’ toys and personal items in separate boxes and somewhere immediately accessible after arriving in the new house. Older children can provide help and assistance on the moving day.
- Arriving in your new home – Relax and don’t start unpacking everything right away. If you look excited and happy, your children will also feel much more positive and confident about the move. When unpacking, arrange the children’s rooms first, especially if they are smaller.
- Help them adjust – Once you’ve settled in to the new house, you can start truly exploring your new neighbourhood. Encourage your children, depending on their age, to join clubs, societies, and keep them excited about the new school and about the prospect of making new friends. Always take the time to listen to any concerns, and help your children if they seem upset or withdrawn after the move.