To adults, selling and moving home is a stressful time even when things are running smoothly and everything goes to plan. Perhaps you’re thinking about public transport availability, council tax rates and how far will you have to walk in your slippers for a Saturday morning loaf of bread.
But children see the whole thing a lot differently especially when they’re at that age where they’re just starting to build friendships and gain those first few elements of freedom. The fact that you may be moving because of an important career move probably won’t make the transition any easier for your little ones. Try explaining negative equity or stamp duty to a 7 year old. (It's almost as hard as trying to explain the offside rule to your Granny).
Here are a few ideas that can make the whole ordeal a lot less harrowing for the youngsters:
1. Involve them in some of the choices you have to make.
You don’t have to give them ultimate responsibility to choose the exact property but perhaps you could talk to them about which local park they may prefer or ask which of the new local swimming pools they would like to visit. They could even just sit on your lap as you browse properties for sale on the internet.
2. Talk to them in short conversations
Children’s attention spans are notoriously short so sitting them down for a long discussion may not be productive. Instead, simply bring the matter up in short conversation or wait for them to mention it themselves and seize the opportunity to answer as many questions as you can before the topic turns to ice cream or the birthday present they want.
3. If your child is at school, think about what time of year you’ll be making the move
The time of year is very important in relation to school years as you’ll be removing your child’s usual friends that they feel comfortable around and putting them with a new group of people. Moving during the school holiday ensures a fresh start with new people but also means your child may be away from their regular friends during the holiday period. The timing can have a huge impact.
4. In your new home, concentrate on getting your child’s new room ready first
A newly decorated room for your little one can help them to settle in. The inevitable chaos throughout your new home is to be expected but by showing your child that you’re on their side and their enjoyment is at the top of your to-do list, you’re helping.
5. Keep to routines such as bedtimes and mealtimes etc.
By keeping everything other than the move itself constant such as bedtime routines you’ll be maintaining some continuity, which can make the experience less hectic for your children and possibly for you too!
It’s important to realise that there will be disruption in everybody’s life but a few months down the line your kids will have new friends and should be settled into their new schools. As long as you expect some upheaval, you can plan for it.