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Moving with children

Moving with children can be a challenge but with some forethought and organisation you can make the whole process much less challenging and stressful for everyone. We can all be prone to feeling anxiety and stress when there’s a major change in our lives, but children are much more likely to feel insecure and unsettled when the world they know is altered. Here are some tips which could help.

Talk to them well before your move

You may feel anxious about telling your children about your potential move. They could be upset and worried about the change so it’s important to stay very positive. Get them involved. It’s worth talking to your children individually so that they can discuss their concerns, but you could also then have a family discussion to make a wish list about what you’d all like in a new house, maybe a bigger garden or a study, or a park nearby. Also ask the children if they have any questions and anticipate what they might ask by making sure you’ve done your research about the area you’re thinking of moving to.

Take them to see the new house and neighbourhood

Once you have found your new property and your offer has been accepted, take your children to see it. You could also drive around the area to see the parks, schools and shopping centres. Maybe go out for lunch or find the local cinema or bowling alley. You’ll all feel more comfortable once you start to familiarise yourselves with your new neighbourhood.

Involve them in advance

The more involvement and advance notice your children have the more accepting they will become about moving to a new home. If they are old enough, a good way to get them involved is to ask them how they would like their new bedroom to be decorated, or if there’s any new furniture they’d like. Perhaps a raised bed, or bunk beds. Let them loose on the internet to make a wish list! This could create some positive excitement and anticipation around the move.

Encourage them to pack their own toys, and perhaps make choices about what to keep and what to give to a charity shop or younger relatives or friends.

It’s also a good idea to involve the children in your choice of school for them (again if they are old enough). Make a list of those in the local area, look at their websites and arrange to visit them.

Allow them to say goodbye to their friends

One of the issues which most children will have is the fear of losing their friends. Make sure that they have time to say goodbye and reassure them that they will see them again by making some play dates for them to meet up in advance.

Special needs and neurodiversity

Your child may have special needs, and if this is the case you will likely have some different or extra considerations. For example, a dislike of change and feeling in control of situations is important for most children, but even more so for those with special needs. Routine and knowing what is going to happen next makes them feel safe in a seemingly unpredictable world.

Social stories often work well to prepare your neurodiverse child for something new. This could be a personalised book of pictures describing what is going to happen, providing information about the old house, the new house, what will happen on moving day, the new neighbourhood and school etc. A social story could also work well with toddler age neurotypical children too.

A visual schedule can also be reassuring. It could show the sequence of what is going to happen when on moving day to give your child a better understanding about what ‘moving’ means. Sometimes a countdown to moving day, crossing off days on a calendar can be useful preparation for those with a limited sense of time.

Moving day

If possible, it could help to arrange for your children to go to a friend or relatives for the day when you move house. If that’s not an option, or they’d prefer to stay with you, give them a job or jobs to do; small tasks that make them feel involved. If you have a pet, your children could look after them for the day. This could benefit both them and you by occupying them, and also keeping them out from under your feet!

Pack an ‘easy-access’ entertainment box to take with you in your car on moving day. Fill it with books, toys, colouring books, pens and pencils, drinks, snacks, wet wipes, spare clothes and tablets with their favourite programmes downloaded. Distraction is key!

When it comes to unpacking help your children to do their bedrooms first so that they can feel more at home as soon as possible. It’s also worth getting back into a routine as soon as you can so that they feel more secure and in control within their new environment.

Once you’ve settled in find out about clubs or activities they could sign up for and take them to places where they can meet other children their age.

We hope that these tips are useful to ease any difficulties when moving to your new home and make for a much less stressful transition for both you and your children.

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For more advice or information on our convenient, cost-effective service go to the shredding page on our website, email or call 0800 211 8030.

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