The process of finding a new home, dealing with the finances, sorting out the negotiations and preparing for the move can be stressful. When children, especially toddlers, are thrown into the mix it can get even more stressful. Young children find it confusing and unsettling to leave the house they call home and move into a strange place.
We asked a Penticton real estate agent who has worked with countless clients and their childred. He is familiar with the stresses and confusion moving with children can cause. He realizes that moving has a significant impact on a child’s life and concerned parent want to do whatever they can to make the transition easier.
The change is even harder for children who have lived in one house their entire life. Their bedroom in the new house isn’t as familiar as their old room, and the house doesn’t feel the same. Also, their neighborhood friends don’t live so close anymore. Al these changes can be massive for little ones.
Breaking the News
Our expert suggested that you break the news of the new home and the move as soon as it is confirmed and finalized. It will be easier to deal with the children’s reaction early on, and it will give you the chance to talk things through. Keeping the information to yourself is not a good idea.
Telling the children a week or a few days before the move will not give them enough time to process the information and cope with the sudden change.
Dealing with the Feelings
Once you have broken the news to your kids, it is time to help them process the information and assist them to come to terms with it. Spend some time with them, sit down and talk about the change and how they are feeling about them. Assure them that their feelings are valid and important.
Ask about their concerns, ask if they are feeling sad, excited or anxious; and then help them address these concerns one by one. Stay relaxed, confident and upbeat. Another great way of preparing kids for the move is to read them stories about moving to a new house.
Familiarizing Them with the New Area and House
After you have started talking about their feelings, you can begin the process of easing them into the new house by gradually familiarizing them to the new area. Take them on a trip to the area and visit the neighbourhood, playgrounds, parks, and schools. For young children, their old area and home is a comfort zone and acquainting them to the new area will make the change less jarring.
Take a walk around in the neighborhood with them, visit the mall, and buy them a treat they can enjoy on your tour. Plan a visit to the new house, walk around the house with your children, share your plans for the home and encourage them to share theirs. Ask them what color they would like to paint their room or how they would want their furniture to be set up. It will give them a reason to be imaginative, creative and make the idea of living in a new house more interesting.
Participating In the Moving Process
You can give children a sense of importance and empowerment by allowing them to participate in the moving process. Ask them to assist you in sorting and packing their belongs and other small items around the house. Children also like to be involved in cleaning their old home. Make it into a fun activity, ask them to help you label boxes, provide them with a few boxes to play with, kids love playing with empty boxes. Give them a lot of encouragement and praise for their help.
Once you are in the new house ask your little helpers to unpack. Try to give them particular tasks and responsibilities around the house as you unpack. It will help them create a bond with the new space.
The Moving Day
On the actual day of the move our real estate agent suggests you arrange for friends or family to take care of the little ones. Things can be hectic, and stressful for everyone involved. You may not be able to give them your full attention. You do not want your children to get overwhelmed.
Try to unpack a little before the children join you in your new home, so there is something familiar for them to come into the new home and see.