They say it's one of the most stressful things you will do and I don't want to scare you but I can definitely agree!! We've moved house several times before, but never with a child and I must admit, it did make it considerably more difficult. Not only trying to keep them entertained whilst packing up. But also they won't let you get rid of anything and will empty previously packed boxes!! ha ha! But joking aside, adding children to the mix suddenly meant that our decisions and timelines were influenced by school choices, term times and childcare etc.
I found emotionally it was a lot harder too. The house we left was where Mason was born and where I started playHOORAY! we had made so many wonderful memories in that house. And not only that, it's easy to worry about the impact on your little ones, changing schools/childcare or locations. But children are amazing and I know since I shared that we were moving, how many families including military families who got in touch to say how well their children have coped with the change and not to feel guilty, they will be fine!
Our house move has involved us moving house as well as relocating to a new city. We have moved from Bristol to Nottingham. This has especially made it harder looking at houses due to the long distance. We've been very fortunate to have my parents on hand to help care for Mason and our dog Archie as our move fell in the middle of half term.
It was also made slightly more complicated that Mason was due to start his new school four days before we got the keys to the new house so we had to stay in a B&B nearby. At first I was concerned it would be too unsettling but young children are resilient and instead he viewed it as one big adventure which was exactly what it was!
So having just gone through it, I would like to share my 5 top tips for moving house with young children (and a big dog!!)
1. Read about it
There are lots of lovely books out there for preparing little ones for moving house. Borrow from the library or build a small collection to read at bedtime when you first begin the process or use to help answer any questions your little on might have. There are lots to choose from but this one was our favourite!
2. Talk about it
Try to talk everything through with your child. It's amazing how much they pick up and covnersations they overhear. We found it easiest to be clear and honest from the beginning then they understand why you're moving and can be involved in the very long process.
3. Practise through play
Let your little one have the opportunity to practise what they're going through by setting up simple play opportunities. Things like packing their own little box, playing estate agents or doing house tours. It makes much more sense when it's something that they're experiencing and play allows them to make sense of it all in their own way.
4. Boxes, boxes everywhere!
No matter how few belongings you think you will have, it's always a surprise to see it all boxed up! There will be boxes everywhere and you know how much play potential there is in a plain cardboard box so why not put one aside especially for the kids and let them go wild on a box. It'll keep them entertained and allow you to get packed!
For box play inspiration, I highly recommend this book!
5. Visit the house
Taking them with you to visit the house you've chosen really helps them to make sense of the whole process. We found that once Mason had visited his new house, 'picked' his new bedroom and saw the new school before we moved meant he could visualise where he was going and was prepared for when we finally moved in.
For anyone moving house or considering moving, best of luck! You will be fine and most importantly the kids will be fine too! It can be an emotional time for you all so hold each other close and remember at the end of the day, you're doing your best!