A move has the potential to be one of the most positive and uplifting experiences of your life – but it can also be deeply disrupting on a number of levels. Especially a big move to another country like we made last year.
For adults, any moves require a good degree of planning and adjustment, but for children in particular, the experience of moving to a new home – especially if the move has involved travelling a great distance (such as internationally) – is likely to be very daunting for them.
Of course, there are lots of things you can do in order to make your move as exciting as possible for the whole family. Searching the internet for terms such as ‘architects near me‘, for example, might help you to really turn your new home into your dream home from day one.
Beyond your new house, though, here are a few specific tips to help your kids settle in after a big move…
Re-establish regular routines and structure
One of the most disruptive things about a big move – as far as kids are concerned – is that moving home represents a substantial degree of chaos, and the loss of their regular routine and structure.
Children naturally look to their parents to provide structure, routine, and a sense of normalcy – which means that if your usual routines go out the window during and immediately after your move, the experience is bound to be much more stressful and psychologically disruptive for them than it would otherwise be.
Families who move internationally are often at significant risk of this sort of disruption as it can take much longer to adjust to your new life abroad.
In order to create as stable an environment as possible, re-establish your regular routines and structures as soon as possible after arriving at your new home. You can begin by keeping mealtimes and bedtimes the same.
Don’t be too distracted
It’s natural that during the move you’ll have all sorts of tasks and chores to attend to, and all kinds of processes to micromanage, that you wouldn’t normally have to concern yourself with in every day life.
It is, therefore, more or less inevitable that you’ll be less “available” to your children around the time of your move than you normally would be.
Easily one of the most important things when it comes to setting a child’s mind at ease during a period of transition, is for their parents to remain attentive to them and to give them a decent share of their time and attention.
Where possible, try not to be too distracted by everything that is going on – simply being there to play with your kids, talk to them, and listen to them, can make all the difference. Have your meals together, spend some time playing, read a bedtime story, whatever it is that you normally enjoy doing together.
Schedule regular family days out
Sometimes, following a move to a new location, children can end up withdrawing into themselves and becoming particularly shy and nervous. This is especially difficult if they don’t know any other children in the area – or if the children speak another language!
As a parent, a great way to help kids to engage with their new surroundings is to schedule regular family days out, where you explore the neighbourhood together, visit local family friendly attractions, and get a feel for things in your new town. Hopefully, your kids will also meet new children in the park or at the beach which will help them to feel less anxious about having to make new friends.
If you have made a big move with your family, how did your children cope? Do you have any other good tips to help your kids settle in after a big move?