We are now in our forever house. Most days I feel like pinching myself to be sure it’s real. I’m so happy! In fact we are all are. After seven years in our previous home, we moved house. I’m a different woman, today. Back then, I was slightly broken and half-way down the postnatal depression tunnel. Back then, Ang was infant and Val was a toddler. He seemed fine at the time, then one day we drove past our ole flat and he began shrieking ‘I want my home!’. This time around, I was switched on and involved. I ensured that we chatted with to our kids. We took their opinions into consideration while house hunting, in terms of the type of home, distance from friendship groups, as well as mentally preparing them for having their own rooms. Our kids were better prepared for moving home this time around.
Making Kids Part Of The House Hunting Process
Older children they will expect to have a say in moving home. Younger children may not yet have the words to express their feeling about moving home. Still, they should be involved in an age appropriate way as much as possible, especially, if they are hesitant to move. Reading stories, watching a children’s programme episode or maybe there’s a YouTube channel that they like which covers the topic of moving home, will open opportunities for you to chat with them about their feelings.
As a family agree on the non-negotiable features that your new home should have. Naturally, give the children parameters to think/wish within. Consider: type, location, size, number of bedrooms, outdoor space, travel connections, home improvement tasks etc.
The Hunt Begins
When you begin to physically visit houses, be clear about what will happen on the day. Try to make it fun, like an adventure. You should pack treats, gadgets and games depending on how far you have to travel to view the property. Chances are, if you see a property you like you’ll want to visit again, in which case that visit be can adults only. Explain to the kids, if they are old enough to understand explain why that second visit is just for adults. Maybe you need to measure up or speak to the current home-owner.
Communication is vital for all family members every step of the way to help manage any anxiety.
I think it’s important to say goodbye to your home and the spaces that once meant a lot to you. Showing gratitude and giving thanks mentally prepares you and the children for the next phase of family life.
Seven years in our previous home was the longest and stillest I had ever been in all my years living in England. Moving was a big deal and I also had to support them children through it because we had put down roots. Although we didn’t move to a different city, they had to change schools and that was major for us. I shared my own fears with them and how I was working through them.
Depending on how far away you move, the kids may need to change schools. That’s major! Moving home is a stressful time and it can cause anxiety in children. If relocation the means that your child has to change schools, that will be another stressor for them. You can reassure them by asking their teacher in the new school to assign a buddy for the first couple of days. Having someone their age showing them the ropes will help to make the transition easier.
Our children started their new school two weeks before the end of the summer term but the both found it easier to have someone showing them around. A buddy can be the link to establishing new friendships.
Kids may be anxious about losing old friends and what making new friends could mean, if they change school. Drawing from my family’s situation, we have no relatives close by and so dear friends are like family to us. Our inner circle is quite small. However, because I moved around at the start of my expat life, I used my own life to show that true friendship don’t fade because of distance.
I’ve always supported them in maintaining their friendship groups. Even with our recent move, they have since had playdates and online gaming groups with friends from their ole school.
Boundaries are like invisible safety gates, if we stay within them should be well. If your move means that you are upsizing, it means more space to be in charge of. The kids will love the ‘extra space’ and if they now have their own rooms even better. Now this is something they are likely to be excited about BUT own rooms mean new responsibilities and respecting each other’s new space. Siblings might require time to adjust. Where they always had a companion at night time, suddenly they’re on their own. Make an concerted effort to have more family time to foster the feeling of security.
Provide children with coping mechanisms for the bedroom separation. Useful aids could include; new night light, sibling story time in a room of their choosing, weekend sleepovers in one of their rooms, new bedtime cuddly, special cosy PJs even rewards charts. Perhaps even helping with the styling and decorating of the room give them confidence and ownership of the space.
Older kids may have rules they want to set for their new room. Having an open discussion about personal space, privacy, sharing and just as important security are topics to talk about be clear about what expectations and responsibilities that will come with them having this new space.
Are you house hunting with kids? What has your experience been? Do share any tips you think will be helpful to other readers.
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