Before the move
Talk about the move and what will happen at the earliest opportunity and convey this information to your children according to their age and ability to understand the concept of moving. Depending on your child’s age, a new kindergarten or school needs to be found. The internet may be very helpful here. If a choice has already been made, we recommend contacting the respective institution early so you can gather information for planning your child’s integration.
Allow enough time for your children to help with the move, so that they get a sense of being needed. Children and teenagers often fear that their belongings will be lost or damaged. Make sure that your children pack their most important personal belongings on their own. The boxes may then be painted or decorated with stickers – depending on the children’s age and taste.
During the move, encourage your children to talk to the movers themselves. When they are able to establish a good rapport, your children will have a positive feeling about the move. If possible, let your children pack the box with favorite cuddly toys and most frequently used toys into the van on their own and unload it from the van with the help of the movers at the destination so they can unpack it immediately. Thus your child has a specific task to complete and at the same time is distracted from the moving events.
Moving is a project for the entire family. The way in which children and teenagers can be included depends on their age. In order to provide some kind of refuge for your children, try to organize the setting up of your new home, so that your child’s bedroom is completed first. The process of settling in can be speeded up if you refrain from buying new furniture for the new room. You thus provide your children with a sense of familiarity and a feeling of security, even in the new environment.
Once all boxes labelled “child’s bedroom” have been emptied, parents are able to breathe more easily again. Your child is busy and you can pay attention to the countess other boxes. However, try to keep to your usual routine, such as lunch and dinner times or bedtimes. Children love routine. Try to find some time for a break in between to explore the nearest playground with your child.
After the move
Time is the most important thing after moving. Take some time for yourself and for your offspring to explore together the new school route, shops and leisure facilities etc. Encourage your child to invite new friends to your home. It helps them to quickly settle in and you may even get to know the new friends.
- Infants and young children up to the age of about six are usually the “easiest to move”. As long as their parents are nearby, children feel comfortable.
- School-age children take a certain amount of time to settle in. Phases of up to six weeks in the new school environment are quite usual. Your children do not only have to make new friends and get used to the teachers, but may also have to adapt to another curriculum. Check if this might be the right time to fullfill your child’s longstanding wish for a new hobby.
- In the case of teenagers a certain understanding for the relocation and the associated changes are often taken for granted. Indeed teenagers usually understand the reasons for the relocation. However, their new life situation may quickly overwhelm them. Particularly at puberty, teenagers focus very much on their circle of friends and find it rather hard to find a new clique. In order to help your teenagers to at least feel comfortable in their own home, let them set up their own bedrooms – even if you do not particularly like the style.
Remind your children that social contacts can easily be maintained nowadays thanks to modern technology (mobile phones, computers, etc.).