Experts say that the earlier you tell your children they are moving the better but it is easy to assume that the later you tell them the less time they will have to worry. Children need time to get used to the idea of moving house so don't put off telling them. Highlight all the positive reasons for the move i.e. new friends, school, closer to family, garden etc. We all know that every child has a natural explorer inside so make the whole experience into a huge adventure.
Be positive about your move. If you dread the move children will pick up on this and will also be anxious about it. Try and get children as involved as possible by welcoming any questions they may have, and go through what will happen on moving day. Questions they may ask is why are we moving? When are we moving? How will I keep in contact with friends? Will my toys/pets be coming? What will happen on moving day?
If possible arrange a day out to your new area, concentrating on the fun places to visit like new playgrounds, leisure centre, restaurants, local tourist attractions, cinema. If you can get access to your new property then you can show where their new bedrooms will be.
Start decorating their room in their head, have fun mapping out where their new furniture will go and what theme they would like. If possible draw a map that they can take home with them so that you can continue discussing themes, paint colours, wallpapers and bedding.
Involve them as much as possible in the packing. Make them responsible for their own rooms, allowing them to pack and decide where to put things in their new room. Now is an ideal time for them to also declutter, get rid of no longer used toys by encouraging them to create a 'charity box' for less fortunate children, explaining why some other little boy or girl would love to play with the toys. But don't get rid of any really familiar objects or toys as this may unsettle them. A really nice idea if you have wall paper in your child's old bedroom is to get a sample piece from the supplier, put in a frame and then hang in their new bedroom as a memory.
Let children pack some of their own boxes especially ones with soft toys and allow them to personalise them with coloured pens, stickers or even fun personalized tape saying 'MY STUFF'. Stress the fact that they will soon see them again as some children worry that they will be taken away from them.
Create a moving scrapbook or keepsake book, fill this with photos of their old house, garden, school, friends and include notes from friends, teachers anything that creates a lasting memory for them. Click on the Moving Scrapbook tab above for a template on how to put together your moving scrapbook.
If you are using a removal company, ask them to put your children's toy boxes on last. This way they will be first off the van.
There are some really good books out there to help children understand the new situation of moving house, some in an amusing and friendly way. See our links above.
As well as an adults survival kit make up one just for children. Include not only essential like nappies, change of clothes, but also toys, comforters, blankets and favourite pyjamas.
This can be a very hard part of moving for children so make sure that they have a chance to say goodbye properly. You could organise a small leaving party and take photos of all their friends so that they can add to scrapbook which also shows their own house and neighbourhood. Make sure that they also have all their friends addresses, telephone number and emails so that they can keep in contact.
If you are moving into a new place just for a short amount of time still make the place look as homely as possible. Don't pack away all toys but unpack couple of boxes so that the place looks and feels familiar to the small folk. Place family photos around and hang some photos so it feels more like home.
In an ideal world the best thing to do is have relatives or friends to look after your children for most of the day. However, we know this is not always possible. So if you have to look after them on moving day explain to young children exactly what is happening and what to expect on moving day. Give your children (depending on ages) specific jobs to do. We have created moving house job badges, which you can print off, and gives a child a specific but very important job on the day i.e. toy coordinator in charge of making sure all toys boxes are loaded and no stray bears and toys are left in cupboards. For really young children a playpen is ideal as you can immediately surround them with their favourite toys. Try to keep to their routine as much as possible so have all food, highchairs, changing equipment set up and to hand.
Try to arrive before the removal team so that you have a chance for children to explore their new house and get excited. Once the removal team arrive show them where all the toy boxes go but make sure children don't unpack any boxes until the majority of their furniture is in place. They wouldn't want a removal man standing on their favourite toy as he struggles across a floor scattered with toys with a wardrobe. Once all the furniture is in place then unpack one box so that they can sit in their room playing.
Plan your first night: Make this special for your child, have a pizza and ice cream and spend time with them rather than unpacking. Make sure their favourite books are to hand so that you can settle them for the night.
You will normally set off to your new home after your removal team. At some point you should overtake them, make it a game to look out for your removal lorry and don't forget to wave as you drive by. If you are traveling a long distance try and keep your children occupied. Long journeys can be very tedious for children but a suggestion to keep them occupied would be to give them a pen and paper so they can draw their new bedroom. If you are really organised you may have already printed a plan out so all they need to do is add their furniture. Not only will this get them excited about their new home but also help the removal men put items in the right place.
Don't be surprised if your child becomes more clingy after moving to a new house, this is natural. Stick as much as possible to routine around bedtime and meals. Don't unpack all boxes straight away but make it the main focus to unpack their boxes first, having their room sorted as soon as possible; so they have as many things around them that are familiar will help them settle quicker. It may be a couple of days after your move that it hits your child, this can be when all the fun and chaos have finished and when tears appear so spend time exploring the new area with your child especially parks, swings or walks pointing out all the new exciting things they can do. Local baby or toddler groups are ideal for meeting new mums and finding out about your area
#1 Don’t move on a Friday.
Even though the weekend gives you time to settle in to your new pad, in reality it is the worst day of the week to move house.
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