Have you noticed that the housing market is crazy right now?! It’s pretty hard to escape the daily chatter about the impact of the pandemic on decisions to move home and the increase in property prices in ‘desirable’ locations! Wanting more homeworking space, a garden, to escape to the country, move closer to extended family and, of course, making the most of stamp duty holidays which end this week – 30th June – – there are so many things prompting people to move house at the moment.
But what if it’s not just you who’s moving? What if you have kids? Moving home can be a really stressful process. Moving home with kids – well, if you’ve done it, you’ll know how stressful it can be.
I have spent the last 20 years researching family mobility and migration. I have interviewed hundreds of children and parents about their experiences of moving home – local moves, regional moves, international moves. I moved home many times as a child and I’ve also moved regions twice with my own young kids – I don’t seem to stay still for long! All of this experience has led me to write my new book ‘How to Move Home with Kids’ which is being published later in 2021.
If you‘re moving home with kids in the not-too-distant future and you’re looking for advice, here are my research-based top tips for having a successful moving day.
• Explain to your kids what moving day involves
Talk to your children in advance about what moving day means for them and what it involves. Don’t assume they will know. Talk them through what will happen and when. You can draw a storyboard so they have a visual reminder for the day, or write a list they can tick off on the day.
• Plan where your kids will be and who they will be with
If your children are going to be at home with you while you’re packing on moving day, if at all possible make sure there’s another adult who can devote their attention to your children’s needs. Moving and packing is busy and hectic. Children deserve someone who can give them frequent attention, particularly on a day when they may feel unsettled.
• Consider keeping a familiar routine on moving day
If you’re not moving very far, you might want to consider keeping your children in their familiar routine for the run-up to moving day and on moving day, if possible. You could consider them being at school or in childcare as normal during the day so that you can focus on the packing and moving.
• Get help
If you can get help with childcare and/or packing and moving your stuff, do it! Moving home is not the time for feeling like you have to be a superhero. What practical help can you have on moving day, what will suit your kids best and what you will feel happy with?
If you’ve never left your young kids with anyone else for a long period of time, moving day might not be the best day to do it (if you have a choice). If your kids are used to going to family or friends’ homes for sleepovers, this might be a good plan for moving day.
• Consider arranging special activities
If your children are in the home while things are being packed, have special activities for them to do and consider giving them their own jobs/tasks in line with their age and ability. They could decorate a special box to pack their favourite things in to or they could be responsible for packing a certain cupboard’s contents into boxes.