A move is not just any change in the life of a family . In fact, if it is already stressful enough for adults, the fact of changing houses (and sometimes even schools ) can be traumatic for children.
On the other hand, a move also implies changing routines for a while, and spending a few days immersed in the chaos of boxes, confusion and disorganization.
If you are going to face a move with children , we leave you with a series of tips that could facilitate the process and help your children to face this delicate situation.
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Be patient and empathic with your children
To begin with, it is important to note that children become especially attached to their material things, their environment, and their home . They also need established routines so they don’t feel lost and disoriented.
Faced with the prospect of moving house, adults usually show emotion and enthusiasm. But for children, this important step means leaving behind the home that they knew until then and gave them security.
The anxiety or stress can be even greater when the move involves a new neighborhood, a new city or even a new country, or when it involves separation from friends and family.
In this sense, it is likely that babies are the ones who least perceive the changes and adapt more quickly. Also small children up to three or four years old usually adapt easily.
From the age of five, children begin to be more aware of the changes that a move will bring to their lives , although it is above all in pre-adolescence and adolescence when they can suffer the most, especially if the change also implies leaving back to friends .
The changes, better one by one
Whenever possible, if the family has just gone through a traumatic situation ( divorce , death …) it is advisable to postpone the move so as not to add more changes and pressure to the children’s lives. In this way, children and adults will have more time to adapt to the new family situation and establish firm foundations before starting another important change, such as moving.
The same happens in the case of important changes in the evolution of the child , such as the removal of the diaper , the transition from the crib to the bed or the transition to his own room . Better to wait until the child has adjusted to his new home before making these changes.
Removals, preferably in summer
Most experts point out that the best time to move is in summer , not only because the good weather and daylight hours help to cope with the work involved in any move and settling in a new home, but mainly because it is a period school holidays and thus the rhythm of the course will not be interrupted.
A move, and everything that surrounds it, is a complicated process that involves many steps and paperwork, as well as an important inner and emotional revolution. This can cause episodes of anxiety and stress , which in turn could affect the family climate, causing arguments and fights .
Keeping calm, relativizing and positively solving the conflicts that arise is key.
Explain to your children the changes that await you
Let’s not hide from children the situation we are going to experience , no matter how small they may seem to us. Explain to them why you have made the decision to move, what the change of house will entail, what will await you in your new neighbourhood, and how happy you are going to be when you open a new home .
Remind your children that despite the material and stage changes that are going to happen, the union between you and the love you have for each other will not change.
No matter how stressed you are or many problems that arise in the process, always speak positively about the experience you are going to live . And it is that if the children only hear complaints from their parents about “the chaos of boxes that are at home” , “the problem that has arisen with the moving truck” or ” how tired you are after spending the whole day packing appliances” , they will not find any incentive to move.
Nor is it necessary to idealize the new destination or launch rockets with everything we have, but it is advisable to highlight from time to time the many positive qualities that the place to which you are moving will have.
Visit as a family the new place you are going to move to
In relation to the previous point, whenever possible it is advisable to previously visit the new place where you will live with the children, and discover the surroundings as a family, especially highlighting those places that you know will arouse the interest of your children.
For example, discover together the parks, sports centers or leisure facilities where you can play when you arrive at your new home. Also show them the new school they will attend (if there is also a change of school ), the municipal swimming pool where you will go to cool off in summer or the cafeteria where you will go one day for a snack.
If the visit is not possible, you can look for information on the Internet so that you know more details about your new neighborhood or city before arriving there.
Lean on resources such as movies or stories
It helps many children to hear stories of other families to whom a move brought them advantages and positive things. You as adults can also share your memories with them, because surely in your life you will have experienced more than one move.
The stories and humorous films where the protagonists live in surreal and chaotic situations, but which end well, can be of great help to spend an entertaining time with the subject at hand as a backdrop.
Take extreme precautions with children’s personal belongings
Although it does not have to happen, moving often brings us the occasional unpleasant surprise when a box is lost or a valuable object is broken.
To prevent this from happening to children’s belongings, make sure they are properly packed. Having everything well located will help the installation in the new home .
Those objects or accessories that are especially important to your little one ( their favorite object , their favorite doll, the story they always read…) you can store in a backpack and always have it at hand.
Involves the children in the decoration of the new house
Children need to feel useful and generally enjoy helping adults . Therefore, there is nothing better than involving them in the moving process, as well as in the decoration of their new home , especially their room.
Although it is not highly recommended to change your furniture when you move house (finding your old room in your new home will help you find your way around), you can collaborate by choosing the color of the walls, the posters or paintings you want to hang, accessories such as bedspreads, lamps or rugs…
Your involvement is key to helping him accept the change.
Return as soon as possible to the usual routines
Once the installation has been completed, try as much as possible to return to the routines prior to the move , such as times for eating and dining, bathing, going to bed…