At Chiltern Relocation we find homes for many families: for our private clients in addition to our corporate clients often arriving from overseas. When we are out viewing homes we are very conscious to make it a positive experience for the whole family. Change at a young age can seem very daunting – leaving behind friends and
established routines. However if the children are on board with the move it makes for a seamless transition for everyone. So how can you persuade the reluctant child to look forward to relocating and how do you prepare children for the move?
Step 1: Talk to the children. This sounds obvious but a lot of people believe it is best to leave telling the children once it is all organised. This can work depending on the age of the children but if they are school age and above, we suggest involving them early on. Children sense a change in the family atmosphere and discussions that don’t involve them can be very unsettling.
Step 2: Allow the children some choice. With so many ‘grown up’ decisions to make over housing and schooling, children can feel that they have no input on the decision making process. Create a list on what is important to them: proximity to gym club or horse riding stables and ask them to enjoy some research of their own to find out what options are available to them in the new location.
Step 3: Set out a clear plan of events and have this visible – put it up on the fridge for example. For children there is nothing more unsettling than uncertainty. Having a clear timeline helps to familiarise the idea of moving. For example by mum’s birthday we will be looking at houses in XXX and after Easter we will have moved in.
Step 4: Turn the relocation into a fun discovery time. There are so many opportunities to enjoy the excitement of the move especially if the move is international. Go to the library and get the children to learn about the country you are going to move to. Look online for resources and local activities that you’ll visit.
Step 5: Plan some exciting day trips in the new location to give them something else to look forward to. A trip to a nearby theme park or safari park for example. Have these dates written on the timeline plan so they can look forward to them and it provides continuity of the family life in a new location.
We have the pleasure of seeing many of our clients after their move and we can honestly say that the children have loved the experience and benefited from the initial upheaval. When asked, many parents said, ‘The children settled in so quickly and made friends easily and it was through the children’s friendships that we established our adult social circle’.
By following these five simple steps you will quickly replace the initial anxiety regarding the move and give the children confidence to embrace their new horizons armed with information and ready to get ‘stuck in’.