Moving House: Moving with Young Children
The process of moving house can be difficult for young children. A sadness at being separated from the local clan and overcoming hours of boredom stand as obstacles for parents on this big day. But, big as it may be, it doesn't have to be long. Keep your kids occupied, make the day fun and you'll find that moving away is a breeze.
Let's begin by addressing a common point of difficulty in moving away with kids who have taken to their present neighbourhood. It's likely your kids have befriended other children down the street and fear the imminent loss of their peers, certainly as day-to-day chums. Parents may forget that children often see their friends as eternal companions and even a couple of days without seeing each other can bring on tears. As a parent, reassure your kids that their friends are still only a small journey away, even if this isn't strictly true. Obviously where you are moving to will dictate any difficulty in reaching your son or daughter's friends. In any case, it is of course likely that some children will insist they see their friends sooner and with less logistical hassle. In this case, it is useful to introduce a bit of light philosophy through saying that any friendship can only grow stronger upon it being consistently denied. Without being mean, emphasise that seeing one's friends too much could mean losing them. Should this not work, then arrange that the parents of your child's friend allow your kid to stay for most of the day as a final send off.
This tactic may seem the obvious choice from the start, but circumstances can often be restrictive, especially as most moves take place over the weekend which is the busiest time of the week for young families attending to kids sports, shopping and visiting people. For the purposes of thinking outside the box, let's suppose that simply going to a friend's place for the day isn't possible.
The first thing to do as a parent is to approach the day positively. Capture your child's imagination and teach them about what's going on, but do so away from the busiest areas. For example, ask your child to count how many small boxes Dad is carrying as you look down at him from the safety of the loft window. Also, let them see each room as it empties while emphasising how different everything is in a positive manner; "listen to how your voice sounds in this room now that there is nothing in it", "can you count all the floorboard planks on the floor? What do they remind you of?"
Prepare instantly edible food the night before, including confectionery to divert your child positively. At the beginning of the day, say that a surprise awaits them later on and hand out the sweets in the afternoon while encouraging more good behaviour in saying the treats are a "reward". Even utilise the analogy of moving things out of a house with that of emptying sweets out of their packet gradually, as your child is rewarded with each new batch at intervals throughout the day. Also, allocate a small space away from all the commotion where your child can play with small toys that will later sit on their lap in the car.
In the case of bigger toys, especially brick-based ones endeavour to make your child a smaller equivalent of their larger toy while explaining that you intend to "convert" their bigger toy before presenting it as a surprise on the day of the move. This should lessen any woe resulting from finding out that one's cherished toy is to be taken apart. Furthermore, we can strongly suppose that, for those children who miss their friends, being preoccupied during the trip over should mean they don't notice how far away the new house actually is. Playing with a hand-size brick structure could well prove the perfect distraction.
Above all, plan ahead and ensure the day is positive. See it as a fun day of learning, and not one of yearning.