How stressful is moving house

Moving, even under the best of circumstances, is always stressful. In most instances you’ve got to pack up years of accumulated valuables and memories, pull the kids from the schools and friends they know and love, learn a new commute and a new community, and then start from scratch in a whole new space. It’s trying, tiring and a heck of a lot of work. And if you have young children, it can be nearly traumatic. After all, they don’t understand all of the grown up reasons necessitating the move, and can see it as a mean plot to take away all they care about. It’s up to you to put the move in the right context, and if you approach it with fun and excitement, the family will follow suit. That’s not always easy, so start small and remain consistent, and you’ll succeed in the end at preparing your family for a big move.

First off, you should sit down as a family and discuss the move, why it’s happening and what’s in store at the new location. If you’re moving out of state, or even into a different time zone, it can be a troubling development for everyone to get their heads around. So make sure the kids understand why it’s happening, and give them reasons to be excited about the new home. Tell them about the larger rooms they’ll have, or the separate rooms they’ll now enjoy. Show them pictures of the home online, and tell them all the great aspects of the town that made you and your partner choose it. Make sure they know that while the transition may be a bit tumultuous, they will grow to love the new place and town as much as where you live now.

Packing your family up, especially if you’ve lived in your current home for years and years, can seem like a monumental task. The simplest way to cut down on the mountain of packing is to pack less stuff. That means garage sales. Go through your home from top to bottom, and have the kids scour their rooms as well. Anything you haven’t used in a year or more should be ticketed for the sale. Your kids may have trouble giving things up, so you’ll need to help them along. Remind them that they need to make space for new things in their new rooms, and that there are younger kids who can really use the things you sell or donate. You’ll probably have to have more than one garage sale to cut down on the bulk, but it will make the packing easier, and you’ll make a little extra cash to help with moving costs.

When the big move is coming up, have a party at home so all your family and friends can see you off. It could be expensive, but let you kids invite all the friends they want to. They need to know that they’re not losing these people forever, just that the relationship is changing. So buy each child a memory book, and they can have all of their friends sign it, writing a memory next to their contact information. That way if your children get lonely after the move, they have one book they can go to, to find all their old friends’ phone numbers.

Finally, have your children each pack a special box. This box should have all their favorite toys, and the one or two ‘security blanket’ objects they love the most outside of what they’re bringing in the car or on the plane. Each box will be marked ‘special delivery’ with their names, and placed at the back of the moving van. That way, when you and the truck pull up at the new house, the kids can pull their special box right off the back and start unpacking that stuff in their new rooms. The sooner those objects are in place, the sooner it will feel like home, and not just some random houses orĀ  apartments for rent. They’ll have the comfort of knowing their favorite things will be cared for by the moving men, and you’ll be less stressed with your kids kept busy while the movers work.

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  1. Samantha Mitchell says:

    I’ve had many moves over the years with my children and they always seem to adjust great. It’s their chance to go through their closets and drawers, find old toys they forgot about and purge the ones they no longer use. They also love setting up their rooms in the new house. I let them make decisions on decorating and that has helped tremendously with any “moving” stress.