The relocation itself is already a stressful matter. Everything gets chaotic, nothing is at its place, and you’ve just managed to deal with the chaos yourself. If you’re single or don’t have children, then it’s not an issue. But what if you’re standing in the middle of the chaos and your children look at you with questioning eyes, not understanding the world anymore? Up to the age of five, children can handle a relocation pretty well because they haven’t made any close friends yet. Additionally, they’re very curious and receptive. Still, a relocation for children is an even bigger incision than for adults. That’s why you have to handle this gently. You’ll manage this with our tips on relocation with children.
A Good Preparation and You’re halfway there
Your children shouldn’t suddenly find out about the relocation and be forced to start packing immediately. So, mention the move as soon as possible in a way that is suitable for a child. Explain to your child why a relocation is necessary. Is the previous apartment too small? Did one of the parents find a new job in another city? Ask your children during the talk what they feel when they think of moving and try to find where they have worries so that you can address those.
Familiarize them with the Unknown
Is the new apartment nearby? Then get the car and drive over with the kids. If the children have seen the new surroundings before, not everything will be completely new on the day of the move. The new neighborhood can be explored. Is there a playground nearby? Or an ice cream parlor? Positive impressions will help your child to be excited about the new surroundings. If the place it too far away, you can use pictures to familiarize children with the new area.
Picture Books about Relocation
Picture books can help children to cope with difficult topics in a playful and illustrated manner. Sit with your child and look at a picture book together. This will take away some fears. There’s suitable literature for each age group.
Small Architects: Planning the Children’s Room
Involve the little ones, in case they’re old enough, in the planning of the children’s room. It brings them a lot of pleasure to be able to choose their wall paint. Perhaps they’re also allowed to choose a new piece of furniture, a new carpet, or a nightstand?
To Feel Like a Grown-up: Lending a Hand
The toys have to be packed. It’s best to do this at the very end, so that the little ones are occupied with familiar things as long as possible. If they pack their stuffed animals on their own, they’ll be certain that the stuffed animals are safe. Make it clear that you’re all going on a small trip — their stuffed animals included. Your child should also have a small baggage with all the things that he or she absolutely wants to bring along. In this way, the relocation will turn into a big adventure.
Away from the Mess
To be honest, it’d be convenient if the little ones weren’t there during the moving day. One won’t need to worry about someone falling down the stairs, changing diapers in between moving boxes, or drying tears. Also, there will be no questions to be answered. If your child has already gotten used to sleeping away from home, then it’s perfect. Maybe grandpa and grandma or other relatives live nearby? Then don’t hesitate to put someone you trust in charge of your kids. Ideal are two or three days, but make sure to visit at least once a day. Then you’ll have time to remove the biggest chaos and the children’s room will be ready too.
Small Helpers, Big Effect
If there’s no other way and your children are with you on the moving day, then you’ll have to actively involve them in the relocation. Perhaps the babysitter has time to come over and to take care of the little ones. It’s difficult to have your eyes everywhere in the whole chaos of the move.
The children are especially happy if you give them the impression that they are needed. They can carry light weighted items and in this way, they’ll also be helping. Keep a bag with their favorite toys ready, if they don’t want to help anymore. Surely there’s a quiet corner where they can play. Or is your child very curious? In that case, walk around the apartment together and explain everything to them. Maybe they’re even allowed to see the moving truck from the inside? Then they’ll also know where their stuffed toys are.
The New Place: Childproof?
Before you invite the little ones into your new home, you should check if everything is childproof. After all, there’s danger in every unknown corner. Are all plug sockets safe? What about the safety gate of the stairs? Is it stable yet?
Familiar Things in the New Children’s Room
It’s not a good idea to completely redecorate the children’s room. Of course, you can buy one or two new pieces of furniture. But in order for the children to get used to the new environment, it’s better to have their old furniture around them. They’ll just sleep better in their own bed. If it’s really time to buy new furniture, then wait until they have gotten used to everything.
A Tour in the New Apartment
You’ve finally arrived at your new home. Take a tour with your child and show him or her every room. Ideally, you’ve already placed some items from your previous apartment. Also, draw attention to familiar pieces of furniture.
The children’s room should be priority and should be furnished as soon as possible. A constant chaos can bring a child a lot of stress which will make it difficult for them to get used to the new apartment. What’s even more important than unpacking boxes are your usual habits. You shouldn’t pass on dinner together or a good night story.
New Surroundings, New Friends
Friendship is already important to children at a very young age. Three to five-year-olds are very fast to forget their friends in the new environment. They’ll find new friends in a short period of time. It’s different with older children. The topic of moving has to be discussed in advance so that you can think of ways to keep in touch. It’s a good thing that Skype etc. exist!
Take It Easy
Peace and enough time are the most important factors when it comes to a relocation with children. Make sure that your little ones always have a person to talk to in every situation. Only by doing so, you can take away their fears and answer their questions.