If you’ve asked a few friends or around the office about what it’s like moving house with children, you might be told to avoid it at all costs. But since it’s sometimes unavoidable, we’ve gathered up some pro tips on how to undertake a successful house removal when you have little ones.
And it seems preparation is really the key. Starting before the move, parents can help make a house removal with kids easier by getting them involved and allowing them to feel a sense of control over unfolding events because it can be hard convincing youngsters to leave a home and community they are attached to.
Some parents find blatant bribes work well to get their kids in the right frame of mind about a move. The promise of new bunk beds perhaps, or letting them pick the paint colour for their new room (maybe from within a range you’ve selected because you might not be especially keen on a pillar box red paint job). Allowing them to spend time designing their new room layout and where they will put their furniture can also help get them excited about the change.
Reframing it as a family adventure can turn it into a positive. And the beauty of living in the connected era is being able to use things like Google Earth to check out the new area in advance. Or, sometimes you’re able to show the kids the new house via a video tour of your real estate agent’s website. The more they can visualise the new place, the more real it will feel and the quicker they will accept their new normal. With older kids, the reassurance that they can keep in touch with friends through social media can help them with the transition until they form new attachments.
Time to pack
When it comes to the actual process of the house removal, again getting the whole family involved is usually helpful. In terms of packing, while the younger kids won’t be much help, older kids can enjoy getting involved by packing up their things, which also reassures them their precious toys aren’t being left behind.
Drawing on their boxes can be a fun activity and lets them feel part of the whole enterprise instead of just being inconveniently underfoot during the moving house process.
For the most part, though, a whole house removal will be a far easier process if you arrange it to occur while the kids are at school or daycare (if you’re not moving far away) or hiring a babysitter to mind them at the new house if school is not an option. And it will be a thousand times more pleasant if you hire helpers for the packing and the move itself. If you can’t afford a professional moving company, you will find it very economical to hire an Airtasker or two to assist with all your removal needs.
First night ready
Seasoned movers advise creating a “starter kit” box, to contain all the essentials you will need on the first night in your new home, so you won’t be rummaging wildly through boxes looking for your baby’s special cup. Things like pyjamas and their favourite night-time music or DVD and a portable player are great to have handy, and even placing a familiar-scented candle into your starter kit can help the new house feel more like “home” straight away.
Similarly, if you don’t have the energy to unpack the whole kitchen immediately, make sure you have an easily accessible box containing familiar and easy-to-prepare foods for the family and the kids’ favourite snacks. You could also celebrate the new home with a picnic takeaway dinner on a tablecloth on the floor of your empty new house before you unpack, which the kids usually find fun.
All about the timing
Whether you’re going it alone or hiring helpers, try to schedule your house removal as early in the day as possible, and move the kids’ furniture and belongings last so those will be the first things to come off the truck. Making the children’s rooms look instantly familiar can be very comforting in the beginning.
After the move, help them settle into their new community by exploring the area as soon as possible, finding fun new play spaces and setting up playdates with new mates. For older kids, actively seeking local extracurricular activities to keep them busy will stop them missing their old hangs, and enforcing their usual chore responsibilities helps them adjust quickly as well. Finally, don’t stress too much–remember that kids are generally very adaptable and resilient and it’s likely it won’t take them long to fall into new routines and discover new friends.
Moving house with kids? Find trusted Airtaskers who can help with your house removal needs.