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Moving home with children

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Break the news

It's important to make the news of moving house a happy occasion, so get the family around the dinner table with the kids' favourite food, keep it casual and gradually steer it round to the move. If you're moving due to a new job or a promotion, explain why you're excited about it and how it will positively impact the family. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings on it - remember, if it's their first time moving it could be harder because they're leaving the only home they've ever known. What might help is sharing your first move experience, and let them know they will be involved throughout.

Get their input on the new house

Try and get the children involved in the selection process of the new house - show them pictures of different houses you're considering and ask them what they like and don't like about each of them. When you've narrowed your choices down to two or three, get some feedback on each one from the kids and, if you can, take them along to viewings. Let them know you'll take their views into account when deciding which house to buy, keep them posted throughout and have a little celebration once you get the house you want.

Throwing things out

We all keep things we no longer need and kids are no different. Get them to help you go through the house and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. When it comes to their possessions, let them know that it's alright to keep certain things that hold special memories, but that things that are no longer used should be considered for throwing away. You can always offer to donate them, so that another boy or girl gets to play with a toy yours no longer uses.

Find out about your new neighbourhood

Try to learn as much as possible about your new community and town. Share what you find with your kids. You don't have to make everything sound wonderful; honest, matter-of-fact information will be most helpful in the long run. If you oversell things and raise expectations, there's room for disappointment. Encourage your kids to do their own research. With your help, they can go online and look up community and school websites. You'll be able to learn about community organisations and groups, school events and sports, and other social and civic activities. 

Plan their new rooms

To get your children excited about the new house, make room plans. You don't have to limit yourself to their rooms only. If they're interested in helping arrange and decorate other rooms in the house, let them. Take a trip to a DIY store to look at different paint colours. If you're going to purchase new furniture and the kids are interested, take them with you. For teenagers, set a budget and let them tackle their own rooms -- picking out colours, linens, rugs and furniture.

Visit in advance

If you're able, take the kids to the new place for a visit. If you're just moving across town, plan to spend the day doing a walk-through of the house and a tour of the new neighbourhood. If you're moving a great distance away, you might still be able to do this, even if it just means beating the movers by a couple of days and staying in a local hotel. In addition to touring the children's schools and the local library, make arrangements to see any additional facilities you might end up frequenting like the area YMCA, community theater or music school. You can also drive your children by where you'll be working.

Throw a 'See You Soon' party

Saying goodbye to friends is one of the hardest things for a child, so consider lessening the anxiety of the occasion by making a celebration of it with a get-together. Provide everyone with leaflets which can be filled out with contact information and take Polaroid photos to attach pictures to each one. With the rise of text messaging, e-mails and social media, your kids should be able to maintain contact with their old friends while adjusting to their new surroundings and starting to make new friends.

Take a day trip

Once you've started to settle into the new house, start about the process of becoming part of the community. If you can, get a guidebook for your new town or city, and plan some outings with the children to see local tourist attractions and other places of interest. Showing them what their new community has to offer will help to settle them in. If they've made friends already, encourage them to bring along a friend each to really cement that relationship.

 
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