If you’ve got a move on the horizon, then you might be worrying about an entire gamut of different problems – some of them small, some of them not-so-small. You’ll need to appraise your contacts of your new address, hire a removal van, and acquaint yourself with the new home. And that’s not even mentioning the details of the transaction of property!
If you’ve got children to move alongside all of your possessions and pets, then you might justifiably be worried about how to reduce their impact on proceedings (and, indeed, about how to reduce the impact of proceedings on them).
Keep Children Occupied
Since moving is an inherently stressful task, the added complication of children getting in the way can be a source of major headaches. In order to keep them from getting in the way, it’s vital that you find them some suitable distraction.
What this distraction might consist of will depend on the age and nature of the child. Teenagers might well prefer to hide away and entertain themselves during the move. Younger children, however, will likely be more inquisitive, hanging around in an entranceway, inspecting boxes and asking a stream of questions of both you and the removal workers. You can avoid this by providing your children with a new toy or book – or, if you’d prefer, by finding work for them.
Put Children to Use
When it comes to moving house, children aren’t just hindrances to be placated – they’re resources to be put to use (if not exploited!) Unfortunately, persuading children that the task of organising the contents of a household into boxes and shipping them is an important one is decidedly tricky. In all likelihood, they’ll lose interest quickly without persuasion.
This persuasion might come in the form of a bribe – say, a chocolate bar for every box packed or room cleaned. If you turn moving into a game, then the effort can be its own reward – especially if you harness your children’s natural competitive nature and pit them against one another. On the other hand, you might take the opposite approach, and suggest that there’s a chance their possessions will get broken in transit if handled carelessly. There’s nothing quite like the prospect of a malfunctioning Xbox to motivate young minds!
Of course, the danger of things breaking during transit isn’t an imaginary one – so be sure to restrict your children’s packing to the non-fragile items.
Don’t Forget Food
If you’re stressed during a move, then one thing that’s guaranteed to compound the problem is an empty stomach. Your children, like you, will need to eat – and they’ll complain loudly if they’re forced to go hungry, which will make the stress even worse. To make matters worse, when you arrive at your new house, you’ll have no food in the fridge, and you probably won’t be in the mood to cook.
With a little preparation, this problem disappears. Pack a few sandwiches, and have them ready for the day of the move. Alternatively, take a look at the restaurants near to your new home, and treat the entire family to a sit-down meal. In all probability, you’ll feel as though you deserve the respite yourself!
Hire a Babysitter
If things are especially hectic during your packing, then you might want to hire a babysitter to watch your children, or take them out of the house for a while. Older siblings and relatives usually come in handy here – especially if they’re unable to lend a hand with the moving itself.
If you can’t find anyone to play the part of babysitter, then you can always hire a professional agency. The respite you’re granted from doing this will likely make any money you spend worthwhile. After all, the value of your sanity is probably a great deal higher than a babysitter’s hourly rate.
Moving house isn’t just a stressful thing for you – it’s even more stressful for your children, who’ll be transported from one place to another and expected to cope with the change in environment. They might need to make new friends at a new school with which they’ll be utterly unfamiliar. This is even worse if you’re travelling an enormous distance to your new home, and if your children already have close friends that they’ll be leaving behind. But even if you’re just moving around the corner, your children might be accustomed to their existing surroundings – and so change might make them feel insecure.
In order to battle these feelings, it’s vital that you communicate with your child. Explain to them why you’re moving, and that you’ve taken their opinion on the matter on board. Take them to the new house before you begin moving in, and give them the opportunity to take a look around the area. Research the things that there are for children to do, and make the case for the move to them. If you’re taking your children to visit the new house, then be sure to take the time to do something fun during your trip.
If you have any stories to tell your children about old moves you have had, then be sure to do so. It’s an opportunity to lighten the mood – particularly if those stories are funny ones. What’s more, it’ll make the point that moving house, despite being a big deal, isn’t a cataclysm.
Finally, while you’re worrying about the stress you’re putting your children through, it’s worth also considering yourself. Your children will probably be able to pick up on any worry you’re feeling, and they’ll feel it themselves. You’re not, after all, going to be able to reassure anyone that everything’s under control if you do so in a red-face shriek. Be sure, then, to take the time to refresh yourself every so often with a moment of calm, a smile and a joke!