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Keep your children involved when moving house

Dear Heather,

We have bought a new, bigger home and we are thrilled with it. However we are worried about the impact of moving with the children. Do you have any advice to ease the process?

Moving on Up

Dear Moving on Up,

Moving to a new home can be a stressful experience for anyone. From the moment the house hunt begins to the day one steps foot into a new abode, relocating can be an intense process, especially when children are involved.

More often than not, the home serves as a special source of security and comfort for children, so it's no wonder many families have concerns about leaving their familiar surroundings. After all, children tend to be reluctant to change their clothes, let alone their addresses and friends.

Talking to kids before a move can help get them ready both emotionally and physically. Parents who communicate with their children that moving is an exciting adventure rather than something frightening or dreadful are likely to reduce some of the stress and help make moving more enjoyable for everyone.

Most children adjust quickly to a move, especially when parents take the time to talk to them about the process and plan activities in advance.

The most important thing is for parents to have a good attitude. Everything is not expected to be perfect but if parents stay positive and enthusiastic about moving, the children will feel better about it too.

Below are some suggestions on how to make moving fun for the entire family:

1, Explore the neighbourhood

Before you close on a new home, have a family outing touring the new neighbourhood. This will take some of the “mystery” out of the move. For instance, pointing out local restaurants and introducing children to their new neighbours will help get them excited about their new surroundings and reassure them that they will be able to make friends after the move.

2, Pack a moving day kit

Here's what to put in it:

• Aspirin and all of your personal medications and pet meds

• Important documents passports, etc, laptops, jewellery and anything else of great value (keep these with you, do not put them with the movers)

• Toilet plunger, toilet paper and paper towels

• Cash for unexpected expenses and to tip the movers

• A knife that's great for opening boxes

• Trash bags

• Power strip and phone charger

• Toiletries bag

• All-purpose cleaner

• Bottled water and some granola or energy bars, cheese and crackers or whatever will keep you going in a crunch

• Phone numbers of local restaurants and food delivery services

• First-Aid kit

• Notepad, pen and sticky tape

• Air freshener

• Flashlight

3, Create a rough inventory of your belongings

Put on it, clearly numbered and labelled boxes with the name of the room on them, so that the movers know where they are to be placed. If rooms aren't immediately recognisable, like say an office, stick the word office on the door.

4, Pack a treasure box

It's no secret that children can become very attached to their belongings. Give your child his/her own packing box to decorate and to pack up their very favourite things. Keep the box close by throughout the move. This way your child can be sure those precious items will not be left behind.

5, Make your bed first

6, Hook up your cable, internet and phone

7, Next, unpack the kitchen

8, Keep an emergency fund in case you run into unexpected costs — repairs, trucks, meals

I know it will feel like you have your wallet upside down but keep in mind that this is a good investment for your family.

9, Make a family wish list

One of the best ways to acclimate your child to change is to emphasise the positive opportunities they'll be presented with once the family makes the adjustment.

Write a list of all of the things your child wants to do once the family is settled in the new home. By encouraging your child to get involved with extracurricular activities that align with existing interests, you'll not only keep them busy but help them to feel more at home in their new surroundings.

10, Let loose your child's creativity

Kids will appreciate being involved in decorating their new house, especially when it comes to their own room.

Bring home paint swatches so that your child can choose a colour for the walls. Then follow up with a special day where he/she can help shop for a new comforter, furniture, etc. Being reasonable with his/her selection and allowing your child to be creative will help make the transition smoother.

11, Help your kids create an address book or WhatsApp group

Staying in touch with friends has never been easier. Help your child collect phone numbers and e-mail addresses for everyone they would like to keep in touch with. Then show him/her how easy it is to send an e-mail. People are using the internet more and more to “speak” with each other from anywhere with just the click of a button.

By showing your child how simple it can be to keep in touch with old friends and plan a play date, they are sure to feel more at ease about the move.

12, Pre-plan a housewarming party with friends from the old neighbourhood

Saying goodbye to friends can be difficult for parents and their children. Having a date set in advance will help your child to see that just because the family is leaving behind a particular home does not mean they are leaving behind friends.

Be sure to invite your real estate agent and tell everyone what a fabulous job they did for you!

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty's leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for nearly 30 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate

Moving can be fun for the entire family (Photograph supplied)

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Published February 20, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated February 20, 2018 at 7:44 am)

Keep your children involved when moving house

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