Tips For A Family Moving House with young Children
My experience of family moving
After we had made the decision that our life needed to be simplified we talked a lot and planned our new future in great detail. What we didn’t spend our time thinking about though was the short term and how our life would be affected during the transition from Old, stressful life to a life of simplicity.
I am currently sat in my mums spare living room after our family moving experience part one. It has temporarily been converted into our family lounge, play room and occasional bedroom for Mr C. This has been our address for just under twelve weeks now while our new house is extended and renovated. As I sit typing this it feels like a life time ago we said good bye to ‘Old Hall’ our once intended forever home. The emotional aftermath of moving with two tiny people is still very fresh and present though. The feelings I have experienced as an adult have overwhelmed me to a point I have felt suffocated at times, it has really made me think about how children must be feeling during a relocation if I felt so strongly?
Throughout our journey so far I have been blown away by Eva’s emotional maturity, understanding and resilience. It is such a massive deal for a child to say good bye to their home, the place they feel most safe.
This wasn’t our first big house move, as a couple we have moved three times. Twice in the last three years. Once whilst thirty six weeks pregnant and once with a two and half year old and six month old baby. Each one harder than the last with extra people and things to pack up and move on. I don’t attach a lot of emotion to houses, I adored the potential of our last house but home is where the heart is for me so that will always be where ever we are, as long as we are together.
So what advice can I give for making family moving with young children more simple?
Before The Move
Take care of their Emotions – It is important to remember when making any big family decisions that everything you decide as a parent will have a huge impact on your child’s life. Involve them as much as possible. This will be much easier the older your children are. Eva is two and half and had a great awareness of what was happening. We explained everything as simply as we could and repeated it often. We listened when she had questions and answered them simply but honestly. When the for sale sign went up, when people came to view the house, all the phone calls. It was all setting her up for the actual move. There are loads of great story books out there for children about moving house and schools. I have always found Eva responds really well to stories, we have had books about new babies, potties and starting pre school so it made sense to get one about moving house as well. When we chatted about moving she would often reply with reference to her book ‘ like when little bear moved’ or I could use examples from the book to explain what was happening ‘our big sofa has gone into storage like little bears bed’.
Be organised – I tried to make the move as low impact as possible. In hind sight I really wish we had got a removals company in but because our move was slightly more complex with us temporarily moving in with my mum we felt it would be less complicated to do all the moving ourselves. That way we could sort out and declutter as we went along.
- Start as early a you can. I started weeks before even completing on our sale.
- Keep it low impact. I aimed to pack a box or two each night after the kids were asleep. I started with one cupboard or draw at a time. Leaving only things we used on a day to day basis. Everything else got packed or thrown. Doing it this way meant there was little impact on us or the children as everything still looked the same.
- If you are moving into temporary accommodation for a while consider hiring a storage container. We have moved in with my mum and although there is a lot of space here she has her own furniture and furnishings already. To reduce clutter and stress we put everything we didn’t need daily into local storage. I would recommend keeping some home comforts though for familiarity for your children. A few family pictures, special blankets and bedding for example.
During the move
Arrange Childcare – Ask family or friends to look after your children when possible. We have a big support network and rarely struggle for help with the children. Unfortunately the week we moved couldn’t have come at a worse time and it happened to work out that most of our family who we would normally turn to were away on holiday. How selfish right! So although it made life much harder it is possible to move without.
Keep Your Routine – Try to keep some routine and structure for the kids. If they have groups and classes they usually attend try and still make time for these. Stick to meal and bed times and try to take time out together so your child still has some normality.
Pack Kids Things Last – Pack up the kids playrooms, toys and special things last and let them help if they can. We ended up with lots of empty rooms but the playroom remained untouched until the last moment. I had gone in previously over the weeks to do a bit of sorting. Without the playroom as a safe place we would not have survived the move.
Move Out Early – If it is an option try moving out a few days before completion day. We were lucky that my mum lives a few minutes away so we set up and started sleeping at her house a few days before we had to hand over the keys. This gave us time to pack up the bedrooms and I felt it was a much smoother transition for the kids.
We made a massive deal of saying goodbye to ‘Old Hall’ we had only lived there just under three years but it was the only home we knew as a family, both babies were born there. We made sure it was completely empty and clean before taking Eva back to say goodbye. I think this step is massively important as it helped her to understand our things are not there anymore because it isn’t ours now. I let her explore each room and made a game of saying good bye. It gave her the opportunity to ask where everything had gone and why. I took lots of photos and videos for my memory but also to show her when she is older. We took Both children with us to drop the keys off at the estate agents. I explained to Eva that ‘our old house wasn’t ours anymore, that we were dropping the keys of for the lady who had bought the house from us. The lady now lived there’. I gave the keys to Eva to hand over and then asked the estate agent if we could have a copy of the brochure and the poster in the window that had the sold sign on. She was so excited by these and kept looking at the picture of our house saying ‘its my old house’. She kept hold of the poster for days before I popped it into her memory box for safe keeping.
Make the most of your in between home
If like us you are not moving straight into your next home try to make the most of your temporary accommodation.
Storage – Use a storage container to store items you will not need during your stay.
Unpack – Try to organise the boxes you do keep so you are not surrounded by chaos. We have a time frame of around four months at my mums house so we have unpacked what we need for here and made our rooms feel like home.
Settling In After Family Moving Day
Routine Is Key – Whether it be your new home or temporary accommodation try your hardest to stick to your usual routines. This will help children settle sooner.
Allow Extra Time Together – Where possible take extra annual leave or just make yourself more present and available to your child. Spend quality time together to make your children feel safe and secure in their new environment.
Explore Your New House And Area – Even if you haven’t moved far there will be new walks and parks on your door step. Make a bucket list of places to visit and explore and spend time together making your new location interesting and fun.
Do Some Networking – If your move requires a new school and groups for your kids then try to give them a head start by reaching out to other local parents. Arranging play dates or getting older kids to meet before starting could really help them feel more at ease. Shout outs on local facebook pages could help you get connected.
Don’t Forget About Your Old House – Keep talking about it and if its local pop past on the odd occasion to see what has changed. We go past every few weeks as we have friends near by. Each time Eva see’s it she says ‘that’s my old house but the lady lives there now’ it has really helped her understand the process.
There is nothing easy about moving house and if you throw a child or two into the mix it becomes a pretty overwhelming experience for all involved. But we did manage to move and we have survived to tell our tale. Just remember you are the adult and you have instigated these massive changes for your child. Take deep breaths and try to apply as much patience as possible. I know at times I wanted to scream and hide as I would be part way through packing a box or making a list and I would need to stop to feed Eli, change a nappy or just give a bit of love and attention to both children. It is a juggling act for sure and the amount of screen time for Eva went through the roof. Do what you need to do and don’t beat yourself up. It will all be worth it and will be a distant memory in no time.
For some great packing tips and hacks check out these great tips here. I wish I had know about the paper plate one a few weeks ago.
If your curious as to why we moved head over to my grand plan post here and all is explained.
To make life simple for you I have added a few of my favourite products for children when moving house. A few simple toys or low stress craft kits are a great idea to keep them occupied or just spend a bit of quality time together in amongst all the chaos. Just click the pictures for details.
If you have any questions or have recently moved yourself I would love to hear your experience. Just drop a comment and let me know your thoughts.
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