Moving can be hard. With kids, things can be even more difficult. Will you be in your new home before school starts? Will your gets get emotional leaving their home and neighbors? What about scheduling around nap time (especially if you’re looking in a different time zone)?
Otherwise, learn how to make age-appropriate plans so you can find the perfect home for you and your family with the least amount of stress.
The age of your child or children matters quite a bit when you’re planning how to schedule showings and deal with the emotional response to moving.
Luckily, if you have an infant, you don’t have to worry about your child wanting to stay in the same neighborhood or fighting you when you ask them to pack up their toys. If they’re very young, they can just be brought along with no problem, hopefully sleeping most of the time.
Make sure you bring all supplies for feeding and changing and try to not linger in the homes so you can get your baby back in their normal schedule as soon as possible.
If you’re driving a long way to see the homes, this can be more difficult, but make sure to plan some breaks into your day.
Toddlers are, of course, more difficult than infants when it comes to looking at houses and moving. Anyone with a child this age knows that they don’t have a very long attention span and can get bored pretty quickly.
If you don’t have a babysitter for the day, make sure you bring some distractions for your toddler. Bring more than one toy in case they get bored or restless because sometimes things can take longer than you plan for, with things like traffic and other potential buyers viewing the same house.
You don’t have to overthink it; just bring some things you know your toddler will enjoy, like their favorite toy and game. If you are busy the entire day looking at homes, maybe even pack some new surprises that will be sure to hold their attention when the normal toys have become boring.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that it is probably better to avoid open houses with children this age. There are a couple reasons for this.
First, you might feel like you can’t spend as much time as you would like really looking at all the nooks and crannies in the home because of all the other people around. Additionally, you might feel pressured to rush because you can’t help keep your children entertained with a toy or game if there are many other people in the house.
Over age 6
Of course, you should still keep your children occupied while shopping for homes by bringing games and toys. Depending on their age, you can also bring an iPad or tablet pre-loaded with many different age-appropriate apps to keep them busy for hours.
Beyond this, though, it’s time to start focusing on the more emotional aspect of moving, not just making sure they don’t get too bored. Kids should start to be mentally prepared for an upcoming move as soon as the details about when and what city are definite. If you as an adult need time to mentally adjust to a move, your child does, too.
Moves can either be a time of great happiness or excitement, like your family is expecting another child and wants to upgrade, or less so like a parent got laid off from a job and now the family is downsizing. Whether out of happiness or not, moving can be very emotional.
Sometimes, you need to be more gentle about preparing your kids for the move than others. For example, if the child perceives the move as coming from something negative, like their parents getting divorced, they should be given more time to adjust.
How can you help them get ready for this change?
Help them see the new life they’ll have in their new home
After you’ve decided on a particular area, drive your child around and show them what could grow to be their new favorite places.
Take them to the community soccer field or swimming pool and grab some ice cream at a local shop. Make sure they know that just because they’re moving, their favorite activities can continue.
Once you’ve decided on a house, make a list of the things your child wants in it to make it feel like more of a home. Help them envision themselves living there by asking exactly where they want to put their bed or their prized rock collection. For a bit more fun, maybe you can make plans build a treehouse in the backyard, too.
Are the kids involved in the decision?
Families have many different opinions on this, and there’s certainly not one right answer, and it greatly depends on the age of your child.
With some families, the opinion of the child is immensely important. If they truly dislike the house, yard, or neighborhood, the parents might not buy it. The older the child is, the more likely this is going to happen.
However, some parents, especially if they are moving because of a divorce or loss of a job, find the child’s opinion distracting and don’t ask for it.
Of course, sometimes children can’t understand that the price of the home they want might be out of the family’s budget. If you don’t take their opinion into consideration because of budgeting concerns, try explaining this in age-appropriate terms. While they might not immediately forgive you, they’ll understand in time.
Don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, though. Maybe you can narrow down the houses in your budget to your top three favorites, then ask your child’s opinion from there. This leaves everyone happy with the choice.
Then, don’t forget to let your young kids help so they feel like they are really a part of the move. If they aren’t old enough to actually pack, give them stickers to ‘label’ the boxes so they feel like they’re helping.
Enjoy your new home
Taking a few tips and tricks into account will make shopping for a house and moving into your new home much easier so you can enjoy the exciting process of buying a new home!
Michele Karl is the Owner/Broker of Priority Real Estate. She can be reached at her email at [email protected] or her office at 865-577-6600.