You’ve outgrown your home. You’ve taken a new job that has commuting taking up more of your time than you want it to. Your lifestyle has changed. The neighbourhood does not have the amenities you want. You want to move closer to your out-of-province family. Circumstances have changed, and you’ve made a big decision. It’s time to move.
Moving can be a pretty emotional and stressful time for anybody. Now add moving with young children to the mix. It’s likely your young child will use phrases like “I like my house” and “I don’t want to move!” They have learned to feel safe and secure in their home and the new house just sounds like a complete stranger! Here are some tips on how to talk to your children about moving, and ways to involve your children during the process and get them excited.
Bring up the Move in Conversations
Do not wait until you put the “for sale” sign on the front yard, or have bought the new house. Be sure to keep them involved in the whole process, from discussing the possibility of moving, to house shopping, and finalizing it. Children tend to thrive on routine and structure, so easing the idea into their minds before surprising them with a big change will serve you well and save you from meltdowns.
Circle the date on your calendar! Kids are very visual! Make the move sound like an adventure for young children. Keep talk of the new home exciting and add it to daily conversations so as to normalize the idea. Encourage children to ask all the questions, and assure them you will find out the answers you don’t know. Keep conversations upbeat and make the move sound like an adventure!
Become Familiar with the New Neighbourhood
If you are moving the family within your current city, take young children to the new neighbourhood as often as you can. Drive by the new home or go for a walk. Be sure to point out amenities the new neighbourhood offers that cater to them like a neighbourhood ice-cream shop, a skate park or a swimming pool. Spend afternoons and weekends at the park or playground near your new home, and maybe even meet some new friends in the neighbourhood.
If you are moving further away and don’t have the luxury of visiting the new neighbourhood often, spend time each week online showing kids pictures or online tours of the house. Use google street view to take a virtual walk around the neighbourhood, and google maps to show them all the new amenities they will have access to like recreational facilities, movie theatres and malls.
Arrange Visits to the New School
One of the hardest transitions for a child is to a new school. Arrange ahead for a couple of visits to the new school and some one-on-one for the child to meet the teachers before attending.
Keep the Bedroom Familiar
This would not be the time to change up their room in the new house. Paint the child’s new bedroom walls a similar colour as their previous room. Keep bedding the same and room decor similar. This will make their new room feel familiar.
Have them Pack their Belongings With You
Be sure your child understands that packing up does not mean throwing away their stuff. This is a good time to go through the child’s room with them and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Have your child help place items in the labelled moving boxes themselves so they can see for themselves it is going to the new home.
Plan Ahead for Moving Day
The last thing a parent needs in the midst of moving day chaos is upset children begging for their attention. With movers and people constantly coming and going, and a frenzy of boxes to weave through and climb over, moving day can be overwhelming and overstimulating for young children. Find a family member or friends who can watch them for a day or two until everything has been moved into the house and the kids’ rooms are set up and organized.
Prioritize setting up the kid’s bedrooms first so they are familiar when it comes to bedtime. Make sure special items such as “stuffies or blankies” or prized possessions are in view to assure them they are there and didn’t get lost in the move.
Look at moving from the child’s perspective and be understanding of their fears and concerns. Stay positive. Keep your stress and emotions to yourself and find a place away from kids to deal with stress and frustrations. Last but not least, make a point of sticking to normal routines after moving. Young children handle stress and change much better when routines are consistent!
Need help making the move to Calgary?
Contact one of our experienced REALTORS® who specializes in the Calgary real estate market? At Royal LePage Benchmark we are here to help you.