It’s easy to forget how stressful moving can be on little ones. After all, it’s not as if they need to worry about packing, organising the insurance, or working out what to do with all that leftover food in the cupboard.
The biggest thing on their mind is usually how their new room is going to be decorated (and to all parents out there, getting stuck into bright pink paint and never-come-off again dinosaur stickers, we salute you). But that doesn’t make the journey into their new home any less daunting.
Recent research has show that moving home can cause just as much stress and anxiety to children as it does to adults. Moving in London can be especially stressful, especially when you consider parking restrictions, traffic and the difficulties of access some of our city’s quirkier properties.
And like most big events in anyone’s life, it’s not until the day of reckoning that kids need extra support. So from one family to another, here are our tried and tested methods for how to move home with children.
Let them pack some of their own things
There’s a real temptation to pack and organise everything for your kids, especially if it means you’ll actually be able to find fluffy socks and Mr. Oink at the end of a long moving day.
But we think it’s a great idea to let kids get used to the idea of moving as soon as possible. Letting them box away possessions, choose old toys to donate to charity, and say goodbye to their room can help bring much-needed closure before transitioning to a new home.
Of course, this will depend on the age of your children. Too young and there won’t be much they can do (and we can’t really blame them for that). However, if they’re a toddler or older then this is the perfect time to get them involved.
Give them a special task on the day
One of the best ways to minimise anxiety and help get them involved with the move is with some light-hearted responsibility.
We aren’t suggesting you ask them to bubble wrap the household dishes, but instead encourage them to take charge of special tasks. It could be anything from collecting their toys – and keeping them safe – to making sure the family dog gets his lunch on the big day.
Either way get creative with it. Any distraction will make the day go by quicker and help your little one feel more involved. Plus, it’s one less thing for you to worry about. Everyone wins.
Get their room set up first
In the days before children, the first priority when moving into your new home was probably making your own bed (who wants to change sheets at midnight after all of that?). But when you’re travelling with kids it’s different.
Getting their room comfortable, familiar and safe can go a long way to making a new house feel like home. All you really need to do is unpack their favourite toys, make the bed and anything else that reminds them of their old room.
It’ll help them settle into a routine and make sure they don’t miss out on sleep too.
Then, once they’re set up and happy, you can get on with the rest. You won’t even need to worry about keep them occupied, or if they’re hiding in a box somewhere looking to surprise a unexpected mover (it happens).
Make the move into an adventure
This is probably our favourite part of getting the move right with children.
They already have wonderful imaginations, so turning the big move into an adventure of a lifetime can make all the difference. Let them explore every nook and cranny of the home, from the hidden cupboards to your own bedroom.
Need inspiration? Think Indiana Jones meets Kirstie Allsopp.
Bringing some excitement into the move will help them get used to their new surroundings and make the day actually enjoyable.
And if you have the dress-up outfits already, even better.
Make the most of being a London mover
Yes, the traffic is difficult and parking can be a nightmare, but you’re moving to, or within, one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting cities. This means you’re surrounded by great places to visit, eat and relax – so once you’ve got your unpacking in order and have done the boring admin stuff, you really should treat yourself and the kids.
If the kids have been particularly helpful (or just well behaved) during the move, you could use the day out as a reward. Here’s three free activities recommended by the Kiwi Movers team.
London Sky Garden – Great views, central location and fully accessible for wheelchair users. Oh, and it’s free. Book a free visit.
Golders Hill Park and FREE Zoo – Located in Hampstead Heath, this pretty park is one of London’s best kept secret attractions. It’s got a free zoo (with ring tailed lemurs), table tennis, normal tennis courts, a butterfly house and is conveniently close to Golders Green station. Find out more
.God’s Own Junkyard – One for older kids and young teens, this Walthamstow salvage yard plays host to neon artist Chris Bracey’s personal collection of work, from signs to movie props. It’s a neon wonderland. A great day out for any aspiring artists in the family. Pop into the Rolling Scone cafe for refreshments when you’re done. Learn more.
Image credit – Wiki Commons