Moving can be a lot of fun. It’s a time full of new dreams, experiences, and opportunities. However, it can also be very overwhelming. Add kids to the mix, and it requires that much more preparation. However, approaching it the right way can lead to a closer relationship as a family and a really rewarding experience. The folks at the Sell and Stage real estate team want to help make the entire process just a little easier – whether you are joining us in beautiful Hendersonville, somewhere else in middle Tennessee, or across the country!
Amidst all of the chaos of moving, the research, planning, and logistics, it’s easy to forget that you really need to prepare your children for everything that they are about to experience, what is expected of them, and what can they expect in their new community across town or across the world. While you might seem overwhelmed and you feel that you need to shield your children as much as possible from the stress, doing this could result in a much larger downside once things really get underway.
Look Back… and Forward!
Depending on the age of your kids, they may be very worried about the move and sad to leave the community and group of friends they’ve likely known their whole lives! Planning a special celebration or “goodbye” party is a great way to have a positive final experience. If all goes well, they’ll remember saying their goodbyes as a celebration and not as a sad affair.
In that same light, don’t diminish the memories that you all share at the place you’re leaving. Work together to create a memory book, slideshow, or other creative project. However, don’t leave it at just reliving memories – use it as an opportunity to dream together with your kids about their future home. Create a “family vision board” with things like activities they’ll enjoy in their new community and positives about the new house, like having more space or a big backyard. Define a Top 10 list of things or activities they are looking forward to.
You want them to have a sense of familiarity as quickly as possible. The younger your children are, the more important this is. If your children are very young, make sure to keep at least one favorite toy or stuffed animal out during the entire process. Let them hold it in the van, airplane, or car ride to their new home. Pack your kids’ favorite items last, and make sure you label their boxes very well. Don’t just label it “Toys”, try to state exactly what type of toys are in a particular box.
When you get to your new home, make sure their box of favorite items is one of the first things you unpack. Welcome them to their new room or space and open up the box. This will not only help them feel more at ease, but keep them relatively occupied during the unpacking phase when you may really need to move quickly, with as few distractions as possible.
Make It FEEL Like Home
Besides some important toys or entertainment items, the next things you should think about unpacking are items that make the new house feel like the new family home. This might be a few pictures, a favorite family board game, or other things that are easy to unpack and display quickly. Then, you can start to think about some of the other critical items or boxes that will require a lot of sorting (putting all of the books back on the bookshelf, etc.).
Maintain the same schedule as much as possible. With all of the logistics of moving, it’s not always easy, but find a few routines or familiar activities that you can do within the first couple of days of moving in. One great thing, though you might not be able to find the time on the first day, is a normal family meal. Even if you can only gather a few items and wash a pan or two, eating mom’s famous spaghetti or Dad’s special grilled cheese around the same dinner table as your former residence will have a strong effect on everyone – this is for you too, parents!
Plan a family activity right after you move in. If you move over a weekend – if possible – don’t go straight to work that Monday. Take an extra day (or two or three) for rest and for family activities in the new community.
Time It Right
If possible, time your move during a relatively calm period in your kid’s lives. Moving during the school year can lead to a lot of added stress for everyone. While it’s not always possible to move during the summer, picking dates between major activities (like the end of baseball season), or other gaps in your children’s lives will help the change seem less severe.
Spread the move out, if possible. If you are moving locally, move over several days and introduce your littlest family members to their new space after you’ve hung a few favorite pictures and familiar family items. If you are making a long move and your family is used to an annual road trip and hotel stay, consider spending the first night in your new city in a hotel. This will give you time to unpack some critical items and organize a few items in the new house that will keep your kids entertained as you spend the next several days continuing to unpack. This will also give you a chance to prepare for that first family meal on your first night all together in your new home, or take care of any unexpected items and moving chores that pop up. You can do all of these things while (if you are lucky) a trusted eldest child looks after the younger children in the hotel during the day while you take care of business.
Listen to Their Concerns
Listen to your children and make a few, noticeable, compromises or amends to show you care and realize that this can be difficult for them as well. Even if your children are very young, there will be concerns that they voice that, while they may seem small to you, are a really big deal to them. Inform them early and often about the changes they can expect. Even once the planning is almost complete and you are on the eve of the big day, sit everyone down one last time to discuss concerns and how you can make things as easy as possible on everyone. While this may not make your children feel less sad or worried, it greatly reduces the chance that your kids will slump into a “rebellion” or angry mindset. Let them know that it’s okay to have concerns and emotions, but most of all you are a family team and are doing this together.
Following some of these basic tips and ideas will help your move with kids go a little smoother. Remember to stay positive – this is the start of a new chapter in life for everyone! And if you are still looking for your right house or to sell your current property, allow Will Johnson and the Sell and Stage team to help you and your family during this important time in your life!