Moving is great when you have a bigger, better place and your home is expanding to something nicer and better. However, your kids and teens may not feel the same way about it. Their home is where they grew up so far and some of them may want to keep things familiar.
How do you talk to your teens and children about moving their home?
Show Them Their New Home
You may have moved enough in your life that you know what to expect from your new home and can think of all the new activities which will be available to your children. However, they may not be so creative or have that much perspective.
Take them to the new place and walk around together. No kid can “imagine” their new life unless they have a clear mental picture of what to expect. Take your kids to the new place and show them around. Explore the backyard together, walk around the neighbourhood, write down all of their suggestions (even the silly ones), and explore which room they would want to have for themselves. Local removals can be so quick and clean that it is good to plan ahead of time.
Ask them where they would want to put major pieces of furniture in their rooms, such as their bed, bureau, and desk. Discuss minor decorating options with them. What color of curtains would they like? Do they want to hang anything from the ceiling? If their room is bigger, do they want to add a new piece of furniture?
Point out all the new activities they will have available to them. If your kids will have a new treehouse, a little shed out back, a playground or park nearby, or an interesting elderly neighbour, be sure and explore these possibilities with. Walk to the park together from the house, so that they can get a feel for how they might spend their time on the weekends. Visit the cool neighbour’s house together and learn as much as you can from them about the people in the neighbourhood. An elderly person can often make a kid feel at ease and like they have a trusted confidante for their troubles.
If a treehouse or fort is available to them or can be built fairly easily, ask them where they think you should build the door and how much space they might need when they invite their new friends over. Your furniture removalists can even deliver a treehouse from the store to your backyard for you.
Introduce them to the neighbourhood kids their age. Chances are, if you have kids or teens, you already know a little bit about the people in your new area and may have already met or heard about who is the same age as your kids. Find two or three who are their age (more than this can seem overwhelming to preteens) and introduce them on your first visit to see the new home.
Do a Purge with Them
Kids as young as 6 years of age can understand the need to purge their rooms of old toys and large blocks of possessions they don’t want anymore. If your child is younger than this age, simply do a minor purge for them. At 6 and up, however, you can get them actively involved with the process.
“Let’s get rid of some of your stuff, but you can choose what you want to go.” This is a great line for ages 6 to 10. Giving your kids complete control over what goes and what stays allows them to view the “donation” process as something freeing and lighthearted. Give them an extra sense of satisfaction by bringing them along when you donate their old stuff to a local store. Local removals can move your belongings to the donation store if you want to skip this step.
“If there was one thing in this room you would want to get rid of, what would it be?” This is a great line to use if your kid has trouble getting rid of anything or if they don’t really know where to start their purge. If they have only one thing to get rid of, this can more easily show up in their minds and be eliminated. Once that thing is gone, they may have the next thing in mind, and so on.
“If you wanted to replace some old stuff with your new activities in your new home, what would you want to replace?” This is a great line to use on your teenagers. This gets them actively thinking about the future and the new life they want to begin at their new house. After meeting the neighbours and looking at the new school and new activities, they may already have a very clear idea of what they would want to try out in the new place. Then it becomes easy to get rid of belongings which will not fit their new lifestyle.
If your teen is particularly lazy, show them the Movepal app you are using to get everything shifted from one house to the other. By viewing their belongings in the context of extra packing and extra responsibilities on their part, they may suddenly be motivated to get rid of more of their stuff before they move.
Show Them Their New People
Both kids and teenagers need to know the new people they will have in their lives. This includes schoolmates, neighbourhood kids, and kids at their new places of workout, play, sports, and learning.
Check out their new school together and do a little people watching with them. This is a great way to bond further with your teen and your older kid. Go to their school with them, walk around, make off-hand little jokes to each other about the other kids and maybe a teacher or two, and scope out the place with them.
Often, not knowing where their classes are, not understanding what the other kids will be like and not having met any teachers yet can make a student feel immediately lost and this can backlash into their home life. Understand that the more people they know, the better they will feel about the move.
Host a “My Kids Need New Friends!” Party at the new place. If you are a naturally involved parent or your kid has trouble making friends quickly, you can get other parents involved with these needs as soon as possible. Talk to everyone in your new neighbourhood and tell them about your kids, their age range and their personality.
Ask other parents to contribute to the socialization of both sets of kids by hosting a “My Kids Need New Friends!” party in your new home. This can be done even before you move any of your stuff in and can be just a nice, casual pizza party with the neighbours. Maybe the neighbourhood kids know things about your house that your kids would find useful or interesting. Having an empty house for the first meeting can be a little like camping out and make it more fun.
Get them involved before the move with new churches, new sports, new gyms, and new swimming pools. If you are moving to a new church, a new local swimming pool, or near a different rock climbing gym, your kids will feel more comfortable with the move if they know what their new activities will look like ahead of time. In fact, this might make even more eager to hurry up and get all of your stuff moved out.
If your teens or children play sports of any kind, meeting their new coach and playing around with their new teammates can make the move seem less intimidating, as well. Familiarity is always the best tool to use with children of any age because familiarity makes them feel comfortable and at ease, even in new surroundings. If you don’t know when you should start getting them involved with the new place, it’s always best to do it sooner rather than later. Start transitioning them as soon as possible into their new people and their new activities so that, when moving day actually comes, they have something solid to look forward to.
Make Them Productive at Their Age Range
Give your kids control over their moving by involving them in the packing and process as much as possible in an age-specific way. Teens can look at the Movepal app themselves to watch the process in action (and learn how to use it for their own needs in the near future) and kids can help pack part or all of their belongings and get excited about unpacking, too!