Moving is always tough, no matter what your circumstances are. The excitement of having a new home can often be undermined by the overhanging stress of the actual move. If you have never moved before, rest assured that it’s very rarely a straightforward process, especially if you have a family with young children.

While the process normally comes at a financial cost, there is a price you pay as parents that are often overlooked. Moving, particularly with kids below the age of five, is definitely something that can change moving to a new house from a mildly stressful experience to a full-blown nightmare. Below is listed some of the stages you will go through at some point so that you can prepare yourself, as best you can, to weather the storm.

Telling Your Kids You’re Moving

If you’re moving a long distance, or even just far enough to mean your children have to change schools or lose friends, this will be an incredibly difficult conversation.

They will definitely ask the question that all children love, “why?” and you need to be prepared to answer this honestly. Be warned, no matter how good your reasons are or what justifications you might have, explaining them to a kid who is seemingly losing everything is on another level of difficult. Be prepared for tears, some of which might be yours.

The best thing you can do in this situation is to constantly outline the positives, you know your children best, look for the things they’ll love about the new move and talk about them. If you’re really sneaky you could talk about these things before your kids are even aware you plan on starting a new life elsewhere, this will get them used to the idea and make it less of a scare.

 Packing Up

Everybody loves saving money. As a result, I guarantee the concept of doing everything yourself will cross your mind more than once. If you have kids you’ll probably have a lot of stuff. Lots of stuff means lots of boxes. The more boxes the more time you have to spend packing. The more packing you do, the more you’ll be unpacking. You are going to hate the sight of boxes and towards the end don’t be surprised if you start finding the urge to throw stuff away.

Unfortunately, your children’s stuff will most likely bear the brunt of this. Most kids are hoarders of what appears to be useless junk, and this will probably seem like the perfect chance to throw it out. But don’t be fooled, chucking out your children’s priceless objects won’t do much to relieve the stress and worse still, they’ll notice. You will have to endure the awkward silence as they quietly ask you if you’ve seen ‘Barry the bear’ or that WOW 98 CD they got for free at a car boot sale. They might not catch on to the fact that these things didn’t just get lost during the move, but the guilt will still plague you all the same for the next few days and whenever else they bring up that item in the future.

Depending on how much stuff you actually own this has the potential to turn bad quickly, it might be worth getting a quote or looking into hiring a removals company to make your life easier. Or if you are going abroad or if you have a car/motorbike that needs to be shipped, freight companies can be pretty useful. This way your children can keep shoving their cupboards with toys they haven’t used in years and learn to make the healthy decision to move on themselves, while you can relax knowing everything is dealt with. Just make sure you know which box the kettle is in. However, if you do decide to do it yourself, make sure you are well organised, steady headed and have a continuous supply of strong bodies to help lift things.

The Transition

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ ‘I need the toilet!’ and ‘He’s poking me’ are all probably words we’ve heard on car journeys before. You might think you’re prepared. You’d be wrong. The pressure of all the things you have to think about combined with the stress and worry of the previous months will be at its peak in this car journey. Don’t forget they’ll be nervous as well, or excited, there isn’t really a difference if the result is that they simply bombard you with hyperactivity.

Do both yourself and your children a favour, send them away for the first few days and bring them in when you’re all settled in. Ask a friend to have them or book them a holiday, it doesn’t really matter, just keep them away from the new house. When you first arrive it will be devoid of anything except boxes and boredom. A recipe that will only create further problems.

If you have pets, just like the children, you should probably leave them behind as well. Personal experience says that hiring a travel service for a large animal such as a dog or a cat is worth it. Dogs can get pretty excited on the day of a new move and this can make trouble. You do not want an energetic hound chewing and barking at everything within site when you are already tired from dealing with a move.

 Settling in

Expect to find bizarre things when you unpack. Perhaps things you didn’t even know you owned, or, on occasion that such an item even existed. How this happens exactly is a mystery, but you can guarantee that you will find them. This will perhaps soften the blow of the other rule, that you will not find everything that you packed. You won’t always notice, but just like your children who will eventually realise that you threw their stuff away, you will also gradually become aware of missing items that you swear you remember packing.

During this period of settling in and unpacking, you will be going to the supermarket or local shop a lot. Whether you forget to pack tea bags, or you can’t find the dust pan to go with the brush, they’ll be a continuous need to be going back and forth between the store and your home. Make sure you have some cash or cards ready for these situations as they occur.

Finally, don’t put off unpacking. You will very quickly grow to hate the very sight of boxes and the longer you leave it the stronger this hatred will grow. Get it done as quickly as possible. Children love poking holes in carboard boxes or climbing on them with very little regard for what’s inside them. Keep your things safe and get them on a shelf or in a drawer as quickly as you can.