Moving within Europe
Moving with children
Preparing your children for the move
- Consider what time of the year you are moving and how that might impact your
child’s routine. If you move during the summer, your child gets the
benefit of a clear fresh start at the beginning of a new school year.
Then again, if your child is separated from her friends for the summer,
you may need to arrange activities so that she does not become
- Younger children learn by playing, so incorporate the move into playtime. Give the kids moving boxes to play with. Have them move their stuffed animals to
another room for the day. Show them picture books of other children
moving, and discuss how the people in the book might be feeling – but
make sure the story ends on a cheerful note.
- If possible, plan a family visit to your new community before you move in.
Taking your kids to the new city will make the move more tangible, and
less of an unknown. Take the kids to the parks, schools, on drives
around the neighbourhood and even the surrounding neighbourhoods. Even
better, take the kids with you to visit their new school and the estate
agent. If you have already bought a house and it is unoccupied, let the
kids see where their new rooms will be.
- If your child can not visit the new community with you, take plenty of
photographs or even record it on a camcorder. Record images of your
new house: children’s bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, front
garden, back garden. It is not possible to take too many pictures. Then
go into the neighbourhood and photograph places of interest: schools,
sports arenas, playgrounds, shops, restaurants, parks, and so on. Use
your photos and videos to build up excitement.
- If your children are old enough, hold regular family meetings to discuss
the move. As you get your children more involved in the process of
moving, they will gradually adjust to the idea. Use your family
meetings to discuss your children’s concerns and help them find
proactive solutions. You can also use this time to delegate tasks and
- Think twice before you throw out old toys and baby clothes. It can be
tempting to throw out your children’s old things. But be careful. Many
families throw things away only to regret it later.
- Say goodbye to your old house. There is a number of ways for you and your
children to say goodbye to the old house. You could make a scrapbook
of photos taken in and around the house. You could have your children
make a time capsule representing their time at the house, and bury it
in the back garden. Or you could have a friend take a few photographs
of the whole family standing in front of the house; frame the best
photo; and hang it proudly in your new house. The most important thing
is that you acknowledge how much the old house has meant to your
children and your family.
- Help your children say goodbye to the people who are important to them.
Older children can throw a goodbye party for their friends. Encourage
them to hand out postcards with their new address and their email
address. Help your younger children write goodbye cards to the people
who have been significant in their lives: relatives, playmates,
babysitters, their favourite waitress at a local family restaurant, the
ice cream delivery woman, and so on.
- Let your children’s bedrooms be the last rooms you pack up. Preserve your
children’s bedrooms as much as possible so that they will have a safe
place to go if they feel sad or overwhelmed.
- Involve your children in the packing of their own bedrooms. Older children (ten
years and over) should be able to pack their own bedrooms by
themselves, with minimal supervision. Younger children can help you
pack a few boxes of their favourite things. As you pack, remind your
children that they will see the boxes again in their new home.
Children of all ages will have fun decorating the moving boxes with
stickers, glitter pens, and markers.
- Have your children create their own “survival kits” for the move. The
survival kit, which can be a box, suitcase or maybe a rucksack, will
come along with your child during the move. It should contain all of
your child’s most treasured toys, magazines, stuffed animals, games,
and so on. Check the survival kit before you go to make sure your child
has not overlooked anything very important.