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Top tips for moving house with children

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Moving house can be exceedingly stressful at the best of times. A house move with children, particularly young children can be even more challenging.

Our top tips for moving house with children gives some practical suggestions to ensure your move goes smoothly and your stress levels do not go through the roof.

Planning for the move

  • Think about the right time to tell your children of your move.  This may well be dependent on age and how your child is likely to react.  Some say the earlier the better, so children are aware of what is going on, don’t feel excluded, get used to the idea and may even be able to help.  Conversely, if you feel your child may worry about the move, it may be wise to leave telling them until nearer the move date, although still allowing sufficient time for them to get used to the idea.
  • Always speak positively about your move (no matter how much you are dreading it or how difficult the process has become).  Children have an uncanny knack of picking up on negative thoughts, energy and worry.
  • Every child is a natural explorer so make the move a great big adventure for them.
  • Highlight the advantages and positives about your move so that your children look forward to being in a new area, nearer family or friends, in a bigger house, having a garden etc.
  • Arrange visits and days out in your new location, focusing on fun activities that the children will enjoy and remember.
  • If possible, visit your new home and show them their new bedroom, playroom or garden, focusing on the aspects of the new house you know they will like. 
  • Be prepared for questions and take time to answer these fully as understanding what is happening will ease a child’s concerns give reassurance.
  • If appropriate, asking your child to plan their new bedroom, how it will be decorated and furnished will be a fun and involved activity for them.

Packing up the children

  • Let your children help by sorting through their own belongings and possessions, helping take items to charity shops or donating to friends etc.
  • Give children their own boxes to pack and label or decorate.
  • Ensure you prepare an essentials kit for each child with possessions that they cannot do without, such as comforters, favourite toy, book, nightlight, nappies and necessary clothes, pyjamas and toiletries etc. needed for a couple of days and keep this safe and separate from the general boxes.
  • Additionally, ask your child to pack a small bag of items that may keep them occupied over the busy moving days and for which they should take responsibility for transporting from old house to new.
  • Explain the packing and moving process to children remembering they may well be unfamiliar with the moving process and not understand why removal men are taking away all their toys in boxes.  Explaining the process will provide some reassurance and comfort.

Saying goodbye

  • Allow your child sufficient time to say “goodbye” to your current home, road, school, area etc. 
  • Create a memories box, scrapbook, photo album or leaving book of your current house and make sure you have the contact details for all your child’s friends before moving away.

Move day

  • If friends or relatives are able to look after your children on the day of the move this is probably the easiest practical arrangement.
  • If your children will be with you on the move day, explain what is happening so they know what to expect.
  • Try to arrive at the new house before the removal team or anyone else.  Allowing the children to be the first to “explore” will create excitement and anticipation.
  • Try to encourage your children not to rip open all the boxes as soon as they are placed in a particular room.
  • Do not try to be a superhero and have everything sorted in a day.  Prioritise unpacking and setting up something that will occupy or excite the children.
  • Plan your day, including where you will sleep, eat, rest and recover.

Settling into your new home

  • Expect your children to be unsettled, out of routine and perhaps more difficult or demanding than usual. 
  • Prioritise sorting and organising the children’s rooms first to help settle them and establish new routines.
  • Have a list of activities planned for exploring the new area, focusing on fun for the children.  Take time out of unpacking boxes each day to visit somewhere new that the children will like.

The key to a smooth move with children is planning, preparation and pressure.  Plan your move carefully, particularly focusing on the children’s requirements.  Prepare for the move by giving your children the necessary information and understanding of what is involve.  Take the pressure of yourself with realistic expectations, timescales and arrangements.  Most of all, make moving house a fun adventure for all the family.

Bird & Co Solicitors are a long established solicitors firm with three offices in the East Midlands.  We have a particular specialism in property transactions and conveyancing.  If you would like more information or advice about the conveyancing process please contact us on 01476 591711.