Moving House with Children

Moving to a new home stirs a mixture of emotions. It can be exciting, sometimes sad and often stressful all at the same time. As adults, we can usually rationalise these emotions, especially if we know we have the right team of professionals to manage the process of selling, buying, and moving. However, for children, the uncertainty of moving can often present more significant challenges, and the prospect of change can be daunting. From leaving familiar surroundings to adjusting to a new school, navigating the complexities of moving with children requires careful consideration and proactive strategies. In this article, we’ll explore the unique challenges families face when moving house with children and offer practical tips to ease the transition and make the journey to your new home smooth and stress-free.

Moving with Babies & Toddlers:

Disruption of Routine:

Moving house can temporarily disrupt familiar routines, leading to sleep disturbances, changes in eating habits, and general unsettled behaviour in babies and toddlers.

While it might be easier said than done, try to maintain consistency as much as possible during the move, sticking to regular nap and bedtime schedules. To help with this, when you get to your new home, make it a priority to set up your baby or toddler bedrooms.

Pack familiar comfort items such as favourite toys or blankets in easily accessible boxes. 

Emotional Adjustment:

Your toddlers will undoubtedly struggle to understand the concept of moving. They may experience separation anxiety from familiar caregivers and environments.

If your toddler is old enough, to help them navigate this uncertainty, involve them in the moving process by allowing them to pack their favourite toys into a special box. Setting up their room first will create a sense of familiarity. Although moving home makes for a busy time, it’s vital to set aside extra moments in the day during the transition period to provide comfort and reassurance for your young ones.

Safety Concerns:

Moving house with children can pose safety hazards for curious babies and toddlers. There’s also the risk of unfamiliar dangers in the new home.

Always prioritise childproofing your new home. Pack hazardous items such as cleaning supplies or sharp kitchen items securely and out of reach of children. It’s always a good idea to enlist the help of relatives or family friends to help supervise children during the moving process.

Moving with Primary School-Age Children:

Emotional Adjustment:

Primary school-age children may experience a range of emotions, including sadness, anxiety, and resistance to change when moving to a new home and potentially changing schools.

So, talk to your children about the move. Listen to their concerns and validate their feelings. Provide reassurance by emphasising the positive aspects of the move, such as new adventures and places to visit. Be sure to explore the new home and area together before moving. Involve children in the decision-making process by allowing them to choose their new room’s décor and encouraging them to get involved by packing their books and toys and working out where they’ll place them in their new room.

School Transition:

Changing schools is undoubtedly one of the most significant challenges for primary school-age children. By managing this process, you can reduce the upheaval and lessen its potential impact on their academic progress and sense of belonging.

Research schools in the new area well in advance and involve your children in discussing potential options. Scheduling visits to the new school to meet teachers and tour the school will help your children become familiar with their new educational environment. If possible, arrange for a gradual transition, such as attending orientation sessions or summer programs, to ease the adjustment period.

It’s always helpful to coincide moving house with children with the start of a new school term, potentially putting them on an even footing with other children in the class.

Loss of Social Connections:

Leaving behind friends and familiar social circles can be challenging for primary school-age children.

Minimise feelings of loneliness and isolation by maintaining connections with old friends through phone calls, video chats, or visits if possible. At the same time, find exciting new activities or join after-school groups in the new area to help your children make new friends and build a sense of belonging. 

Moving with Teenagers:

Disruption of Social Life:

Perhaps more than any other age group, your teenagers will have established social circles and might feel anxious about leaving behind their friends, school teams, and extracurricular activities when moving to a new area. Once again, encourage teenagers to stay connected with their friends through social media, messaging apps, and video calls. But, at the same time, help them research clubs, sports teams, or other social opportunities in your new community that align with their interests.

Identity and Independence:

When you remove your teenagers from their social environment, they may struggle with feelings of loss or disruption to their sense of independence. You can manage this loss of autonomy by allowing them to take responsibility for their space in your new home, from unpacking to decoration. 

Unwanted conflict can often increase during the moving phase as teenagers push boundaries in their new environment. While it’s a busy time for everyone, it’s essential to take the time to listen to your teenager’s perspective, even if you disagree with them. Encourage them to regain their independence in their new environment at a rate you are both happy with!

Academic Transition:

Moving to a new area often entails changing schools, impacting teenagers’ academic progress, curriculum, and relationships with teachers.

When researching schools in a new area, always involve your teenagers in discussing potential options and schedule visits to potential new schools to meet teachers, counsellors, and administrators. As mentioned above, it’s always helpful to coincide moving house with children with the start of a new school term, potentially putting them on an even footing with other children in the class.

Above all, allow yourself the time to look after your family during a move by ensuring you have a great team looking after you. At Penfolds we skilfully guide you from one home to the next by understanding what’s important to you. Contact us here to experience our highly responsive customer-led experience, an experience that we would expect ourselves!