Written in collaboration with Rebecca Lee
Whether it be for a new job, or to enjoy a different way of life, relocating your family is always a big step.
There are a lot of pros and cons to weigh up, not to mention many different things to organise. And then of course, there is the little matter of ensuring the kids are all on board with the idea too.
If moving home is one of the most stressful things you can do, then relocating to a completely different area must be doubly so. After all it is a life-changing act that involves a complete overhaul of your current circumstance.
So clearly, it is within your interests to ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible. To help you achieve this, you would be well advised to do the following.
Tell them the reason for moving
One of the simplest things you can do to make the move easier is to outline to your children, and wider family members, the reason for your move.
Is it because a new job will give you more money? Will moving save you heaps on the daily cost of living? Is it because houses are much cheaper than where you currently live? Or is the neighbourhood much safer in terms of crime?
If you clearly outline why, you are relocating your family, it will help them get on board with the idea much quicker than if you just spring the move on them.
Highlight the benefits of the area you will be relocating too
To get your children further on board with the move, it is worth highlighting the benefits of the area you intend to relocate to.
If feasible, go for a couple of day trips, or weekend visits, to help them familiarise themselves with the area.
Is there a nice beach, swimming pool or park there? How good is the shopping centre? What are the cafes and restaurants like? What other activities are there to do? Doing this will give them context of what their life could be like when they move, and therefore help them to understand what the main attractions of doing so will be for them.
Involve the whole family in the house hunt
If practical, it is worth involving the whole family, especially your children, in the house hunt as this could help to make them feel more included, and even excited about it.
Also, if your children can see they will have a bigger bedroom, or a larger garden to play in. Or maybe even that there are other children in the street for them to hang out with, then this could help them get on board about the move quicker too.
School and education
Education is a very important consideration when it comes to relocating your family. So, you should research carefully what the standard of schooling is like in the area in which you plan to move.
Again, try to involve the children in this process, because for them the thought of starting a new school can be a very daunting situation, and one of the main reasons why they might not want to move.
Your children’s friendships and social activities
While relocating can be excellent for your career and maybe even your bank balance, it can be a major upheaval for your children.
It is important to consider their feelings during this time and not just assume they’ll get over it. To help them get on board with the move, try to give your children some reassurances and other things to look forward too.
For sure they will miss their own friends, so consider giving them access to an iPad or other device where they will be able to keep in contact with them via video chat.
Also, if they are into extra-curricular activities like gymnastics, dance or sport, make sure you sign them up to a class or team in the area, and if possible, even let them join in on a session prior to your move.
Carefully plan the move
The act of moving home can be very stressful, so you will need to carefully plan all aspects of it.
The first thing you will need to do is to determine if you will engage the services of a company who specialise in relocation services. You will be able to find local furniture removalists with Muval and if you are specifically moving to a new job, be sure to check if your company will cover the cost of this.
When preparing for the move you will need to pack your possessions. It is worth doing this on a room-by-room basis, starting with the ones you use the least. Once packed, store the boxes in one of these empty rooms and make sure they are clearly labelled – outlining what room they are for and even what is in each box.
On moving day, you will be glad you did this, as you will be able to initially put each box in the relevant room, before unpacking them in your new abode.
Moving day and after
On the day you relocate, one of the first things you should do is set up their bedrooms. That way you the children will have a fully set up space of their own to enjoy whilst you focus on unpacking the rest of the house.
Enjoy lots of quality family time
During this time then, it is important to spend lots of quality family time together to ensure you create positive memories in your new house.
This will help you settle into it much quicker and ensure that your children are less likely to yearn for where they used to live.
It’s a simple formula, but the more fun and happy memories they have in your new hometown, the more they will enjoy living there.
So, make sure you go out for family meals and shopping trips, enjoy days at the beach or park and attend local events within the community.
In the period before and after the move it is important to be extra patient with your children.
The thought of relocating (potentially hundreds of miles away) from where they currently live and not seeing their friends ever again, could take a lot of getting used to.
Try to empathise with what they are feeling, and cut them a bit of extra slack if they start to get moody or misbehave. Just remember, this is their way of processing and dealing with the situation.
For every family the act of relocating to another area, especially if it is far away from where you currently live, is a potentially tricky proposition.
While there will be many things to consider and organise before, during and after your move, it is important to remember that the process will be a lot smoother with good planning and communication.
At the end of the day, you must do what is right for your family and if it involves moving home then so be it.
That said, if you apply the principles outlined above, you might just find that the move goes a lot more smoothly than you otherwise thought it would.