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Moving house can seem like a frightening prospect for children, but there are a few things you can do to pave the way, and encourage them to look forward to the change. Here are our top suggestions for giving children a positive outlook on moving home.
Broach the subject early
It’s easy to put off telling children about a move, especially if you think this will give them less time to feel worried and stressed about the upcoming event. However, expert advice suggests that it’s best to tell children early on, as this gives them time to adapt to the change and come to terms with leaving their old home behind. Talking about the move as much as possible helps children to see that you’re excited about it, whilst also giving them the opportunity to talk through anything that’s bothering them.
Give children tasks they can own
Psychologist Anita Adams posits that a child’s stress is reduced when they feel they have some control over the situation, so allow them to choose their new bedroom if you can, or pick out a colour scheme. By focusing on the excitement of the new room, rather than the sadness of leaving the old one, you can get your children interested in the move and even looking forward to it. Find age-appropriate tasks for each child, like rounding up toys, to keep them involved in the process. You might also consider taking them on a trip to see their new area, paying particular attention to any parks, cinemas, restaurants and other features that you know will appeal to them.
Find comfort in fiction
A variety of books with both new and familiar characters (for example, Tigger’s Moving Day by Kathleen W. Zoehfeld, featuring much-loved characters from Disney’s ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ series) can help children to work through their feelings about moving house, and help them to realize that they’ll be able to keep in touch with their old friends. Many of these books also help children focus on the positive aspects of moving home, such as making new friends and having a whole new bedroom to make their own.
Host a party
The decision to move can sometimes make children feel cut off from their old friends, so consider throwing a goodbye, or ‘see you soon’ party for family members and friends you’re leaving behind. This is a good opportunity to ensure your child has email/Skype addresses and phone numbers for their friends so that they can stay in touch after the move. Once you’re settled in the new house, allow your child to invite their friends over again, if possible, or help them to stay in touch via phone, email or Skype.
Go out exploring
Buy a guide book for your new area and make a list of fun things you can do once you’re settled. Get children involved in creating the list so that they understand there will be plenty to look forward to in their new neighborhood – they could ask any new friends they’ve made at school to come along, too.
Whether you’re considering relocating just a few streets away, or to another continent, Engel & Völkers can help to smooth the way by assisting you with every stage of the buying process.
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