How to Reduce the Stress of Moving House with Children
Although moving is a big life change for anyone, it can be a huge upheaval for children, especially if they’ve already started school and have an established group of friends who they might be leaving behind. The most important thing is to be supportive and make sure you don’t think they’re being foolish for being scared or sad. Here are some additional ways you can make the transition more pleasant for them.TalkAsk them how they are, although be careful not to smother them. If you’re always asking how they’re feeling, they might feel under pressure to lie or feel overwhelmed. Encourage them to talk about how they feel about the move. If they have fears, don’t invalidate them, agree that they’re justified and that moving is a daunting thing. Instead of telling them to feel better about it, allow them to vent when and if they want to but don’t pressure them to talk if they don’t want to.Contact their teachers and friend’s parents and explain the situation to them in case your child doesn’t seem themselves. Encourage positivity when it comes to the discussion surrounding the move but only if your child brings it up. Ultimately, go with whatever feels right depending on your child’s personality.ReassureLet them know that it’s completely normal to be nervous or apprehensive about moving, especially if they’re starting a new school. If you have experience with moving home as a child, explain to them how you went through the same situation and can therefore empathize with them. This also means you can offer them advice on how to deal with the move.Reassure them that you love them and that the move is a positive one. Try explaining why you’re moving. For example, if you’re upsizing because your family is growing bigger, describe how much room they’ll have to themselves now and how grown up they’ll be. Often, children like to feel included in our plans, so merely having this conversation with them may make them more excited about the move.Make sure they know that, as a family, nothing is going to change. Their friends are still going to be there and their family still loves them. Usually, it’s our inbuilt fear of the unknown and anxiety surrounding change which can trigger stress in children when moving house, so letting them know only their location is changing and not the people in their life can be reassuring. ArrangeMake a date for their friends to come and visit the new house. This will solidify the fact in their mind that moving house doesn’t mean they have to lose contact with their friends and will give them a day to look forward to. Have a big family gathering the week after you’ve moved in so they can see just how little has changed.Look forwardGo through pictures of the new house and discuss how they’d like to set out their new room; explain how they can arrange it just like their soon-to-be old room if they so wish, or they can have something completely different. If they’re starting a new school, go through the extra-curricular activities they can take part in there and talk about making new friends as if it’s an adventure. The aim is to excite your child, not to scare them. Look into outings you can take as a family - perhaps there’s a theme park nearby or a reputable shopping centre. Focus on the future and not on what they might be leaving behind.