Survival Tips: How to Prepare to Move House with Young Children
Article by Liza McKilliam, Licensed Real Estate Agent.
It can be hard to see the act of moving house with rose tinted glasses on. It’s stressful, emotional, and will likely involve tears (not just from the children). But it’s also exciting, adventurous and full of promise!
Nevertheless, how do you manage to maintain order in the process of moving house with young children? Some days it can be a challenge even to get them to pack up their toys! I’m not going to lie; it’s a tough gig. But it IS doable. With a little forethought, thorough planning and a firm grip on how to approach several potentially emotionally charged situations, you can get to your new home with minimal breakages and next to no (unhappy) tears!
Focus on the positives
The first and most important thing to address is how to break the news of the move to your children. It’s critical to get this right from the offset as it will determine how they view and act throughout the entire process of relocating. While babies may be blissfully unaware of any changes as long as there are minimal interruptions to their routine, toddlers and children under the age of five may need some strong convincing.
Consider reading them books about moving house and telling them (positive) stories about your previous moving experiences. Make sure you always appear upbeat and excited about the move whenever you discuss it. In those moments where you need to stamp your feet, cry out a few select curse words and pull your hair (we all have them!) ensure that this is done out of sight of your little ones. It’s no secret that small children can be very perceptive, and will catch on if they know you’re stressed about the impending change.
If you have the chance, take your children to the new house before you move and get them excited about decorating their bedroom. A little exploration of the parks, library and grocery shops around the neighbourhood may also be a good idea! Cultivating a sense of enthusiasm and reassurance around the moving process will help to ease tension and make the process much smoother.
Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of others
If you are hands down exhausted by the time baby goes for a nap or you put the kids to bed, packing while they’re asleep isn’t feasible. And don’t forget that you need a decent rest too! When you’re boxing everything up and decluttering as you go, having someone there to mind the kids while you do so can be a real godsend. Whether this is a hired babysitter, a friend or a relative, it’ll allow you to get on with the job while your children are merrily occupied.
If the kids are old enough, you may even like to give them a few crayons and put their artistic skills to work drawing the items that are packed on the boxes they’re in. Just remember, everyone needs a little help when moving house, and it’s usually no issue if you’re more than happy to return the favour when the time comes!
Know what you need during the move
Ensuring that all boxes are correctly labelled is a no-brainer. But don’t forget to separate the things you will need straight away, from the things that can wait to be unpacked. Put aside a suitcase for all the essentials which will be required on the first night you get to your new home. These may include basic kitchen utensils, clothes, toiletries and all the necessary baby care items. Make sure you leave aside your children’s favourite toys so that they have something familiar with them at all times during the moving process.
Have an ‘off limits’ room
The packing process usually starts at least a week before moving day. And it can often lead to the house being strewn with half-packed boxes just waiting for someone to trip and fall over them, or items to be taken out and displaced. Things which would usually be in cupboards with child-proof locks may be out in the open, tempting the inspection of curious little hands. The last thing you need is a trip to the hospital! To avoid these situations, pack one room in the house first (perhaps the study, guest room or garage) and then designate it as the ‘packed and ready to go’ room that’s out of bounds for the kids. This will not only allow you to rest easy knowing that everything is safely out of reach, but it also means that once those boxes are in that room, there’ll be no unpacking until they get to the new house. We all know how kids like to squirrel toys away when (they think) you aren’t looking!
Let everyone in on the game plan
Have a plan for moving day that everyone in the family, and everyone helping with the move, is aware of. Moving on a day that the kids are in daycare, or having a fun visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s organised, will relieve you of a lot of stress. It’ll also allow you to concentrate on setting up the house so that the children will feel comfortable on their first night there.
Know what rooms you intend on assembling first; the kitchen is always a good place to start! Unbox sentimental items for the children’s bedrooms that will make them feel at home (a nightlight or two will never go amiss!). You can always leave a special box for them to unpack so that they feel a part of the process. Remember that having a plan is fantastic, but if something goes wrong, it isn’t the end of the world (though it can feel like it after minimal sleep). Keep a level head, make sure you get your morning coffee and a few moments of respite throughout the day, and most importantly remind yourself of the exciting reasons you’re moving!
If you’re looking to sell a home in Kenmore, Chapel Hill, Pullenvale, Fig Tree Pocket or Brookfield contact Liza McKilliam today. Liza is a second generation real estate with over 18 years of experience selling local homes, and above all, she is passionate about finding the perfect buyer for your home.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RE/MAX Profile Real Estate, the Global RE/MAX network or its agents.