We’re moving house. It’s chaos. Not only that, we’re moving into one temporary rental before moving into a longer term rental whilst looking for our next family home. Yet Ella is really worried about moving house. Bless her, she’s only eight and it’s the only place she’s ever known and loved it. During the past few weeks we’ve realised just how much she loves it as she’s told us explicitly how much she’s going to miss her room, the climbing frame, the garden – the list is endless.
With every worried silence where she stares at some part of our home like she’s trying to remember it forever, a part of my resolute brain begins to question whether we’re doing the right thing in moving, but the time for questioning that is over. The move is imminent so over the past few weeks Jon and I have discussed how to make the move an exciting prospect for her and come up with a few things that I thought I’d share with you if you’re going through the same situation – if even just one idea helps you, then that will make me smile.
Take photos of their favorite bits of the current house
Set aside time to walk around the current house – before everything’s in boxes – and ask your child what their favorite rooms, nooks and crannies are. Take a photo of them in each place and get them to write down a memory that they’ve experienced there.
Have they realised that they might like the new place better?
Look at the list of places that they like the best. Is it a list based on where they can play hide and seek or do they love having a secret place to curl up and read? Have they always wanted a room with a view of trees and now you’re giving them that? The moment you counteract what they’re worried about losing in the move, is the moment you see their smile start to turn upwards again when you replace it.
Bring their favorite stories into the arena
I did consider drawing a Marauder’s Map for Noah and Ella but I’ve packed the paper (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)But seriously, naming their new bedrooms after their favorite programmes all help to make it fun. You could even handwrite a message from Luke Skywalker ‘to the next sleeper of this bedroom…’ for them to find.
Distract with what you definitely know will excite them
Ask them about events that always occur. For example right now we’ve got Halloween coming up, the kids are always really excited about that and my job is to ensure that we can find their costumes easily. In fact I think I might put them into the current school one just to be on the safe side.
When they say they don’t want to go
Life works in opposites – good , bad, happy, sad… every time they tell me that they don’t want to go I give them the opposite emotion to think about and link it with a positive memory. After our pretty adventurous trip around the Azores the word ‘adventure’ is really resonating with them and anything associated with it. So of course the house move is the next big adventure… What will we discover there? Will there be a secret passage way? When can they explore?
Change is a vital lesson
Whilst it’s hard even for adults to move, change is a necessary part of life and you’re teaching your children how to cope with this so don’t feel too bad. Attitude is key to change so prompt them to find three new things that they’re excited about in the new place. Do that every day and pretty soon you’re going to have a big positive list.
Try and keep some things constant
Ella and Noah’s school and school friends are remaining the same. So yes whilst we are moving into one temporary rental before upheaving everything into a longer term one whilst we search for our next family home, at least their day-to-day experiences are going to be kept certain. And of course, we’re all going to be together. I’ve also asked them to pick out their favourite bedding and toys for the forseeable future, and made sure that they’ve not been packed for storage, that way they’ll have their favourite things around them amidst the chaos.
We genuinely thought that moving house when the kids were back at school, and not causing a massive disruption during the summer holidays for them was a good idea. Now I’m surrounded by boxes with a ginormous to-do list in between the school runs scratching my head and thinking that actually they could have helped us. If you’re absolutely crazy like us, and are moving this semester to be in, in time for the holidays keep these certain things
To try and make the semester run as smoothly as possible, I’ve packed all of the school semester related theme nights, kids wrapping paper and birthday cards for school friends, school sports agendas, the weekly planner that lives on the fridge all into a box and am moving them in my car and unpacking them straight away. That way I know that everything I need for the school run is right where it needs to be from the start. That’s the plan anyway … Wish me luck!