Covid-19 has turned the world upside down, adding layers of additional stress to our lives and, for many people, this includes moving home, which is already known to be one of the most stressful activities one can undertake. Add children and pets to mix and the potential for pitfalls doubles.
Moving home is a time-consuming, logistically tedious process as well as emotionally fraught one as it’s never easy leaving a place where a multitude of memories were created, no matter the reason for the move.
With so much to do before and on the day, moving is never an easy process, but with children and their furry friends in tow, it can literally push one to the brink of insanity.
However, a little forethought and strategic planning will go a long way toward streamlining the process, significantly reducing the impact on the whole family, minimising the risk of unforeseen stumbling blocks and also easing the transition and settling in period.
Preparing the children
Moving house is a big upheaval for the entire family but it can be particularly stressful for youngsters who are likely to be upset about leaving behind everything that is familiar and nervous about the prospect of changing schools and having to make new friends. This is definitely not news that can be announced at the last minute as your children will need time to process the information and get used to the idea.
Once the decision has been made, a good idea is to call a family meeting to explain the upcoming changes to their lives, which gives parents the opportunity to address any questions or concerns well before the time in an environment where the children feel secure and supported.
It’s essential to explain that all the key aspects of their lives will stay the same and that all the familiar contents of their current home, especially what’s in their bedrooms, will be moving with you.
Many experts advise that toddlers and pre-schoolers should be told about a month the before which gives them time to acclimatise to the idea but not so long that they begin to ruminate and worry. Once the news has been broken there are further steps parents can take to help their kids acclimatise:
• Stick to normal routines
There will inevitably be many disruptions to the family’s daily routine as moving day approaches, but try to maintain as many of your old routines as possible like family meal times, regular bed times and activities like game night. The consistency and continuity are reassuring.
• Scout the new area before the move
If possible, take the family for a drive to visit the new destination before the move. In addition to showing them their new home you can point out the positive elements of the new area and the exciting new opportunities that await them. This will help to make them feel more excited about the move and will also dispel many of the apprehensions they may be feeling.
• Involve the kids in the process
Make them responsible for their own rooms and allow them to pack their own things and decide where they want to put everything in their new rooms. It’s also the perfect time to declutter to give them a box for old unwanted toys and clothes that they can donate to less fortunate children. Encourage them to personalise their boxes with coloured pens and stickers and reassure them that they will see their boxes again soon.
• Plan a Fun Activity for the Arrival
Once the move is over and everyone has arrived at the new home, take the time to do something fun together like go to a restaurant for a meal or spend an hour in a nearby park with the dogs and a picnic. It will go a long way in ensuring your new life gets off on the right foot.