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You’ve chosen to move! Posted On 28 June 2021

Your kids haven’t- how to manage their emotions and ensure a smooth transition

The day has arrived. Boxes are packed and ready to go. You’ve had the obligatory last coffee. It’s go time! Whilst you may be very excited to move house and start your next adventure, the chances are this decision was yours. For you kids however, they’re leaving the known and heading towards the unknown with no say in the matter. It’s no wonder that many children feel unsettled and unsure. Here’s how to make the move as easy as possible for them.

For babies and toddlers, you’re the centre of their universe, so as far as they’re concerned, the most important people are coming with them. To make the move as easy as possible, the maintenance of routine and predictably are still of the upmost importance. Pack and unpack their room last and then first. This will give them and you a safe haven where they will feel safe whilst you’re doing other jobs- like unpacking the kitchen. Pack an essentials back-pack for with their favourite (essential for sleep) cuddly, a fresh pair of pyjamas and -if needed- nappies. Now is not the time to spring a new challenge such as cot-bed transition or potty training upon them. Give your child a few weeks to settle into their new environment before beginning this next leap. Remember that they don’t care if the house looks immaculate or if there are boxes everywhere, take time out for cuddles and meet their emotional needs first.

For nursery age children, again, you’re the most important people to them so you shouldn’t be met with too much resistance. As above, prioritise their rooms first. Keep explanations simple but share with them what is happening. Why not create a list in advance of things to be excited for? Perhaps you’ll be near to a new park they can explore? Visuals are important. Can you drive to your new neighbourhood to get to know it a little before you move? If not, use google maps to virtually explore. Show them photos of your new home so it is familiar when you do move. Enlist their ‘help’ packing a few favourite toys and clothes so they feel part of the process.

For school-age kids, moving will seem a bigger deal and you may be met with outward hostility to the idea of leaving their school, friends and known home behind. Find ways to say goodbye to their best friends, perhaps a special playdate or making something for them to keep? If they don’t already have them, set up email accounts so they can keep in contact with friends from previous schools and explain they can use zoom, FaceTime etc to chat to them.  Try to ensure the rest of their lives remain stable: attending sports or music activities as usual and visiting grandparents will help show them that not everything is changing.

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