1. Explain to kids what moving day involves
Talk to children in advance about what moving day means for them and what it involves. Don’t assume they will know. Talk them through what will happen and when. You can draw a storyboard so they have a visual reminder for the day, or write a list they can tick off on the day.
If you talk about moving day in advance, it normalises it and gives children the opportunity to ask questions and express their feelings.
How often should you talk about moving day? If you think frequent mentions of moving day are going to increase any anxiety they have about moving, plan in your mind when you will talk about. If you think talking about moving day infrequently will increase their anxiety, plan in your mind to talk about it more often. You know your child best. You can develop the best strategy for helping your child cope with moving day by thinking about how they respond to events in their everyday lives.
2. Plan where your kids will be and who they will be with
If your children are going to be at home with you while you are packing on moving day (s), if at all possible, make sure there is another adult who can devote their attention to your children's needs. Moving and packing is busy and hectic. Children deserve someone who can give them frequent attention, particularly on a day when they may feel unsettled.
3. Consider keeping a familiar routine on moving day
If you’re not moving very far, you might want to consider keeping your children in their familiar routine for the run-up to moving day and on moving day, if possible. You could consider them being at school or in childcare as normal during the day so that you can focus on the packing and moving. This doesn’t work for everyone and depends on the distance moved, as well as other factors, but it can work very well for some families.
4. Get help
If you can get help with childcare and/or packing and moving your stuff, do it! Moving home is not the time for feeling like you have to be a superhero. What practical help can you have on moving day, what will suit your kids best and what you will feel happy with?
If you’ve never left your young kids with anyone else for a long period of time, moving day might not be the best day to do it (if you have a choice). If your kids are used to going to family or friends’ homes for sleepovers, this might be a good plan for moving day.
If people offer to help, say yes! If you can ask people for help, do it! Think in advance about what help will actually help (rather than what other people might think will help you) and say yes to those offers.
5. Consider arranging special activities
If your children are in the home while things are being packed, have special activities for them to do and consider giving them their own jobs/tasks (in line with their age and ability). They could decorate a special box to pack their favourite things in to. They could be responsible for packing a certain cupboard’s contents in to boxes etc.
Whether or not your children are involved in packing up the home, involving them in planning special activities for the new home can be helpful so that they have things to look forward to. Read more about that here.
Having read all those, you might be wondering why I haven’t put ‘say goodbye to the home’ as a top tip. I’ll discuss that in another blog post very soon.
If you are moving home with kids, I'd love to help you. You can sign up for more of my Top Tips here