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Moving house with kids can be a terrifying prospect for any parent. Luckily there are many things you can do to make moving easier and more enjoyable! If moving house is in your near future, then you’re in luck. We’ve got some great tips for moving with kids, specifically designed to make the process easier and more fun. Helping the kids cope with the move, helps you cope with the move, too!
Finding your new home
Involve your kids
Let your children know that you are looking for a new home. This will give them the chance to process everything, and it will stop them from getting too worked up and worried. Show them the local area if you can and also take the time to point out all of the new things that they are going to be able to do. This could include going to new shops, having adventures on the playground or even visiting the park with the dog. If you can help them to imagine the fun that they will have, they’ll be able to handle things a lot better.
Enlist the professionals
If you’re looking to buy, a broker could save you a stack of time looking for options for loans. I know I found that adding children to the mix made getting a loan a bit harder – I was told that every dependent reduces your loan serviceability. Getting finance pre-approval puts you in a more confident position when looking at a property – you can spend more time with the kids planning who gets what bedroom and less time trying to figure out where you stand.
If you’re looking for a rental, make friends with the property managers of each of the real estate companies in the area you’re looking at. When I’ve been looking for rentals I’ve actually had opportunities come up ‘off the market’ – property managers often have a shortlist of potential tenants lined up when they sign new properties for rent. Sometimes these properties get leased without even being advertised!
Make an inspection plan
When you’ve got kids tagging along to all of your inspections (for purchasing or renting!) it is super helpful to have a plan for the day. If you’re taking a partner, make a plan for who will entertain the kids, and who will do the inspection. Perhaps you’ll alternate per property, or maybe one of you will go first, and then the other. Try not to go alone if you can – a parent or friend who can help with the kids will absolutely be an asset.
Try to have a list of your ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ down as a bit of a checklist. This will help you stay efficient, and get in and out quickly. You might find that sharing this process with your kids and asking them to come up with their own checklist will help your children feel more involved and invested in the process.
Know the area
Research the area where you are moving to. Check out reviews of schools, neighbourhoods and amenities like grocery stores or parks in order to make moving easier for yourself. Many families will specifically seek out homes in a certain school’s proximity, so you might find prices are higher there or that there are less properties to choose from.
Planning the move
Pack as you go
It’s time to grab those boxes and start packing! Start by packing the things you don’t use frequently and label the boxes by the room they’re intended to go to. You can use towels, jumpers, tracksuits and pillows as buffers between delicates! Save on those bubble wrap expenses!
Give your kids a box a weekend to pack up – and give them the pens or markers to write their names or otherwise decorate the box. I’ve found that they’re more invested when I give them a choice of empty box to use, and promise them that they can play with them at the new place – queue cardboard castles! Castles and forts are fantastic projects on moving day and in the weeks after as you unpack.
Stick to your routine
If you have kids, then you will know how important continuity and routine are. Make sure that you do the things that you always have done, such as having game nights, family mealtimes and more. Make sure that you invite people who they might be close to as well. This will give them some sense of normalcy both before and after you move into your new property. It will also stop them from feeling like they have lost their home.
Involve your children
For moving day, don’t forget to include the kids in this moving process – they need to be involved in everything from making decisions about where things go, packing, picking out new furniture, and doodling on boxes. If you can help them feel like it is their move too, then perhaps they’ll be less likely to complain or fight it. Work with them to write a list of things that need to happen – letting your children pick the things that are most important to them helps them feel excited and stay positive about the change.
Have an incentive system set up for kids who help out during the move (e.g., stickers or small prizes). This will show them that helping out around the house is worth their while! A bit of extra pocket money or allowance for moving day will also go a long way.
Plan your first few meals
There’s nothing worse than hungry children. (I mean, it’s probably worse when I’m hungry at the same time. Hangry? Perhaps there are few things worse than hungry children!) Especially if you have young children, pack a kit of non-perishables that can be on hand on the day you move, as well as in those first few days after. It’s okay if some of these are the less than desirable individually packaged and processed ‘treats’ – said treats could actually help make the move a bit easier.
Particularly on the first night, anticipate not having a refrigerator at a proper cool temperature. Friends or family might be able to bring around something you prepared earlier they’ve kept chilled for you in their home. (or maybe they’ve cooked for you!) It could also be worth getting familiar with the fast-food or takeaway options in your area if you haven’t already – don’t feel guilty on this one!
If you can get a bit of a meal plan together for the first week, or at least the first night or two, it will reduce those stress levels, I can tell you! Go for the easy meals, or ones where you’ll cook a bigger batch and be able to eat left overs for lunch or dinner the next day. A food box delivery service where everything is included could be a go here! Something like HelloFresh? This could even get delivered to your old home in the days before you move, and as a bonus, their boxes come with everything you’d need to keep perishables safe and cool on moving day!
In conclusion – you might need to plan a bit more, but moving house with kids in tow is absolutely doable!
Moving house with kids in tow is a daunting task, but it’s absolutely doable. You just need to plan ahead and create moving day rituals that include the children. Your moving checklist should also be customized for your family – what are their must-haves? What kind of environment would they thrive in after moving? How should you involve them throughout this process so they feel like this move is something they want too?
It may take more time than if they weren’t present, but being inclusive will help them feel included and invested in this transition of homes. Use the moving day as an opportunity to build your children’s self-esteem! Turn on your positive attitude and give them the gift of moving into their new home with a smile.