So, you’re moving house, and you don’t know how to tell your children? That’s completely understandable. After all, children need routine, and that’s just the fact of the matter. But there are ways in which you can introduce this exciting yet daunting change to your children that will make them eager for your new chapter.
There are many things to consider here, perhaps you’re going to have to change schools for your children, taking them away from their social circle, they may feel as if their entire childhood memories from your previous home will soon be forgotten, as they stare at the notoriously British act of the pencil lines on the wall where you marked their height next to their ages for years, knowing another homeowner will erase those memories with a lick of paint.
But it’s not all sad. There are many ways to introduce the topic of change to your children that highlight the fun and exciting aspect of it. Here’s some tips you can take with you when having the dreaded conversation, regardless of your children’s ages:
1. “How do you want to decorate your bedroom, kiddo?”
Make a big deal of discussing how they’d like to decorate their new bedrooms upon moving. Make a Pinterest board of colours and textures that match their personalities. After all, bedrooms are a massive safe space for children. It's their place to grow, develop, keep personal belongings, and be themselves. Emphasizing the care and exciting nature of what they’re going to do with their bedrooms is absolutely paramount to keeping your children calm and positive about the big move.
2. “Invite your old school friends over for tea!”
One thing your child will be dreading is having to leave their friends. The friends they will have grown with during their previous school years will have had a major impact on their developmental years and their mental health. Making the extra effort to keep in contact with their old friends will not only make your child happier but will likely reduce the likelihood of them feeling hostile towards you, the parent for taking them away from their previous life. Make them feel excited to show their friends the new humble abode. It will distract them from the negative feelings towards moving.
3. “How are you feeling about this, love?”
Keep open communication with your child. Doing this, in general, is probably a good idea, but we’re not parenting experts! When it comes to moving, however, especially if your child is in their teenage years, they may already be starting to emotionally distance themselves from you (as heart-breaking as it is, it’s all a part of their development) but checking in regularly, asking them how they really feel, allows for them to vent, seeing things from their perspective. Showing them that you care and want their input, and that although their hormonal selves may think otherwise, you’re not moving house with the intention of wrecking their life!
4. “We will take all of your clothes, toys and shoes, I promise!”
If your child is on the younger side, perhaps a toddler. They are only going to see things on surface-level, and very black and white. Therefore, it is important to emphasize the basics, such as letting them know their toys, blankets, shoes (all the comforts of their home) will merely be transferred into another building. We empathize, as it will be difficult for any child to adapt to a change like this, but with a toddler, the conversational approach will be much different than trying to reason with a grumpy teen! Maybe try saying things like ‘come and pack your teddies into this box with daddy for when we move, how exciting!’ ‘Ooh your paw patrol bedding will look so good in your new room!’ - It sets the tone for excitement, even though as parents, it’s statistically one of the most stressful times of your life. (No, really, google it.)
5. Tell your children you’re going to be moving as early as you possibly can.
Of course, maybe it’s not the best if you haven’t finalized the papers, as that will only further unsettle your child. But the earlier you tell them that this event will be happening, the longer it gives them to prepare. Say their goodbyes to their old town, neighbours, friends, etc – it gives them more space and time to process the big change, and it will lessen the impact than if you build it up to be this huge announcement, making your child more worried that you waited, or kept it from them. Treating your children as equals throughout this journey will make this experience a lot easier for you and your family.
If you’re looking at moving homes, buying a new property or selling your current one, be sure to check out our free valuation system.
By Caitlin Stimpson