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How to help your family settle into a new home.

There’s no denying that moving home can be one of the most stressful things in life for everyone, so it’s little wonder that younger family members can have a hard time adjusting to the change. From toddlers to teenagers, moving is disruptive. It can be especially hard on those who don’t cope well with change, who may not have been part of the decision-making process, or when moving cities or countries, adjusting to a new school, community, and friendship circle at the same time as a new home. 

Moving is often overwhelming for everyone, both physically and emotionally, and uprooting your family can be a big adjustment, but following a few simple steps will help ease the transition for all involved.  

Before moving day

Children may be more concerned about the downsides of a move rather than the positive benefits, so give them plenty of opportunity to talk about their concerns beforehand. Provide as much information about the move as possible and be receptive to both positive and negative reactions. 

Where possible, involve kids in house-hunting and invite their input into the decision-making process. Visit the new neighbourhood before moving day to give them a feel for the local parks and playgrounds and seek out the local takeout of their choice (pizza, Thai, sushi etc.) – the more familiar they are with the new neighbourhood, the easier the transition will be.  

Children younger than six may find the process of moving easier because of their limited level of understanding of the changes involved. Having said that, avoid other big changes during the move such as toilet training. And although moving is a great chance to get rid of clutter, forcing children to give things away can compound the sense of loss. So, ease into any decluttering, instead create a box of the things you would consider getting rid of but hold onto it for the time being.   

Lastly, let the kids decorate their moving boxes – not only keeping them occupied while you pack but allowing them to easily find their possessions after the move. 

Moving day 

On moving day, it’s a good idea to keep kids out of the house and away from the chaos by organising for them to go on a playdate or stay with family.  

Prioritise setting up children’s bedrooms before the rest of the house to give them a comfortable, safe place for them to be in. Hold off getting rid of any old furniture as this provides a sense of familiarity and, if possible, set the furniture up in a similar way in the new bedroom.  

Once you’ve officially moved into the new home, plan fun activities such as going out to dinner, having a picnic at the local park or inviting family and friends over.  

Settling into the new home

A great way to help settle children into a new home is to keep to your usual routine and schedule. Maintaining bedtime and meal times and being as predictable as possible makes children feel safe and gives them a sense of continuity with life in their old home.  

Another great way to help children feel settled is by giving them some control over their new space. Let them choose the colour of their room, or for older kids, provide them with a budget to decorate their room. 

While young children may adjust easily to a move, older children, especially teens may need more time to adapt if they will be leaving an established friendship circle, which they have invested a lot of time and energy into.  Make sure their concerns are heard and validated– as an adult maintaining friendships after moving house may not seem that difficult but children may find it difficult to adjust to not seeing their school friends every day. Offer practical solutions such as planning visits to the old neighbourhood and organising for friends to visit, in addition to helping them keep in touch via video and phone calls.  

For more help and advice on the process of buying, selling and moving home, speak to your local Belle Property agent today.