Top tips for moving with children

Moving home is stressful and young children are stressful; so moving home with young children can be a hectic, demanding, or even traumatic experience.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Or at least, you can take action to make ‘that way’ less likely to happen. All you need is our list of helpful tips below...

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1. Tell them you’re moving

Obvious really, but we mean tell them as soon as possible that you’re moving house. Most people need time to get used to a big new idea, and children are no different. So don’t delay putting them in the picture.

When you tell them, be clear about why you’re moving and highlight all the positive reasons for the switch, whether it’s getting their own bedroom, moving nearer to the sea, or just being down the road from grandparents. Hook into what they will find most appealing. 

2. Let them help you choose

This obviously depends on the ages of your children, but they might well relish the opportunity to have their say on their next home – after you have whittled it down to a shortlist of course.

So let them see the pick of the houses you’re considering, and ask their opinions. Which house do they like the look of the best? They might even latch on to something that you haven’t spotted yet.

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3. Visit the area with them

You’ll have probably checked out the house and wider area that you’re planning to move to several times, so why not visit once with the kids?

The family visit should be much less busy and formal than your previous visits. Children will soon get bored wandering around potential homes and seeing where the nearest shops and amenities are. Instead take them to all the fun places in the new area – the park, the play area, the castle, the zoo etc. 

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4. Make them their own room monitor

Encourage each child to be ‘in charge’ of packing their own room. How in charge they actually are will depend on their age, of course.

Supervise them while they pack, and perhaps encourage a bit of de-cluttering of the toys and books that they’re now too old for. Make sure you don’t persuade them to throw away something they’re going to be upset about later though.

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5. Have a family moving out meal

This is just before your moving day. You probably won’t have the time or inclination to cook, so get their favourite takeaway in, sit around a table and explain everything again, re-emphasising the benefits to them.

Tell them why you’re moving and how you’re excited but a bit nervous too. Perhaps tell them about other moves you’ve made; it will appear less scary if this is something you’ve done a few times before. But don’t make it a lecture – get them talking too and let them know you’ll be relying on them to help on moving day.

6. Say ‘goodbye’

The hardest part of moving for children is saying ‘goodbye’ to friends. It can be pretty hard for adults too.

A leaving party might be too much for some, but make sure they have photos and contact details for friends, so they can keep in touch if they want to. Perhaps one of those autograph books would do the job, filled with little in-jokes and “best wishes” messages.

7. Warning: This might not be possible

In an ideal world, the easiest thing to do is have relatives or friends look after your children for most of the moving day itself. However, for some parents that just isn’t possible, but we thought we’d point it out anyway.

8. Get there first

Try to arrive before the removal team so that you have a chance for children to explore their empty new house and get excited.

Have a plan for the children while the removal team get to work and the house is in a state of chaos. The kids won’t want to feel that they’re in the way. If they’re old enough, get them involved. If they’re young, get them in the garden with a box of toys.

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9. Have a moving in celebration

Make this special for your children; have more takeaway (even better than the moving out one) and enjoy it with them, rather than just moaning about all the unpacking there is to do.

Make sure a favourite book – or even a new book – is accessible for good, old-fashioned bedtime reading to help them sleep on their first night in this new place.

10. Going forward

Don't be surprised if your children become more clingy after moving to a new house. It’s not “annoying when there’s so much to do”, it’s completely natural.

It may be a couple of days after your move, when they start a new school perhaps, that the enormity of a move hits your children. Be sympathetic and, as ever, highlight the positives.

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