Top Tips For A Stress-Free Family Move (3)

The Relocation Consultancy - Helping Assignees Settle In A New HomeThis week we will be posting a selection of articles to provide advice on what to keep in mind when relocating with children. The third article in this series considers tips that may be useful at the new destination:

1. Make the transition fun. As well as being unsettling and tiring, moving from your home country can be fun! Plan to splurge a little bit on transitioning from one home to another – maybe visit some fun, kid-friendly restaurants, go to the cinema/theatre or visit an indoor play frame. 

2. Where possible, involve the children in the home choice process. If possible, take your older children along on your home search visits. Most Consultants are happy for them to attend and can arrange for the (legally-required) car seats to be available for them. Make it clear at the outset of any home search visit that the final decision is up to the adults, but that their opinions will be considered. 

We would not advise bringing very young children along though – home search days can be very long and can lead to tantrums in even the most angelic of toddlers! If you can’t take them along, you can still keep them involved. Take pictures/video of the houses you’re considering and bring them back to show them. A temporary nanny can be arranged to look after your children if required.

3. Maintain familiar routines. Once you’re in your new home, some things may have to change, but try to maintain the aspects of your life that are most important to your kids. Stick to familiar bedtime routines and continue any other family ‘habits’ that you can.

4. Make their bedroom the top priority. Ensure they have anything with them that will help them settle in quickly e.g. their favourite toy, comfort blanket or duvet cover. Let them pick a couple of new items that will make their new room feel special to them e.g. a new cushion, alarm clock or some posters. Having a place that they feel comfortable in and can call their own will work wonders for their settling in.

5. Unpack the items that make your house a home first. Research has shown that people who unpack items that have emotional significance early on settle quicker. This could include photos of family and friends, pictures/paintings, duvet covers or favourite toys. Let your children decide what is most important for them.

6. Get to know your child’s new school. School is the centre of your child’s universe. They will only be happy if they are happy in school. Inevitably, that means you will only be happy if they are happy in school! Make sure your child visits the prospective schools with you – it is only by visiting the schools that you will get a true feeling of the atmosphere there. Make sure your child knows where their classroom would be, where the toilets are, where the dining room is, and all the other basic information they would need on their first day. Many independent schools run a buddy system for new children – these are absolutely invaluable for helping them to fit in quickly. If they are offered a buddy, it is always wise to accept them. If your child has any particular interests or hobbies, find out if there is a club covering that interest at the school – it will be much easier to make friends with other kids that they have something in common with.

If you can spare the time, try to volunteer for any Parent/Teacher association aligned with the school – this is an invaluable way of making friends and becoming truly integrated to an area.

7. Find something new. Find something new, good and different about the new house or town and play it up. Give this new place something the old one didn’t have. Perhaps it has a duck pond nearby or a rickety old street that you can play hopscotch on? Every place will have something – try delving into your inner child to find it for them!

8. Add some extras. Sign your children up for some extracurricular activities e.g. scouts, guides, clubs, etc. These smaller clubs may provide a welcome group of new friends for them. They’ll feel more a part of their new home once they’re involved in activities. Try to keep one activity that isn’t with the school – this will help them to broaden their friendship base and give them a break from thinking about school all the time.

9. Keep the moving boxes as long as possible. Once you’ve unpacked, keep the moving boxes for your children to play with. With just a little bit of help, they’ll have great fun making, decorating, and playing with their home-made castles, trains, cars, etc…

10. Explore, explore, explore!

Once you arrive in the new place, start exploring. What does your new location have that you’ve never experienced? Start reaping the benefits of your new environment right away. Your kids will feel like they’re on an extended holiday!

 

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com.

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Top Tips For A Stress-Free Family Move (2)

The Relocation Consultancy - Helping Assignees Settle In A New HomeThis week we will be posting a selection of articles to provide advice on what to keep in mind when relocating with children. The second article in this series considers tips that may be useful during the move:

1. Toilet training issues. If your child has recently been potty trained, consider putting them into pull-up nappies for the journey. The need for a potty/toilet can be pretty urgent at this stage, and it will reduce the stress for everyone if you don’t have to worry about it for the day. As long as you return to previous routines after the journey, it shouldn’t have any long-term negative effects.

2. Pack each child their own small rucksack of special toys and activities. Any comfort blanket / toy should be included within this bag, so it stays with the child throughout the journey. These will keep the kids occupied throughout the journey (and at their destination), and also help them to feel more secure. To add to the excitement, you could even wrap some small new toys up and let them pick one to open each hour of the journey.

3. Be prepared for travel sickness. If your child gets sick when travelling, it could be worth a visit to your doctor before leaving to get some medication for the journey. Even if they haven’t been sick before, it is well worth carrying a packet of wet wipes and a portable sick bag – just in case! There’s always a first time for travel sickness and it would be unfortunate if you find out that your child gets sick when you’re in transit without supplies!

4. Keep extra clothes handy. Have at least one full set of clothes on standby for each child. A leaking drinks bottle, spilt food or sickness can all take their toll on a long journey. Wet wipes and ziplock bags can also come in handy!

5. Make sure (you and) the children are well rested before the journey. Travelling is tiring, particularly for little children. They’re likely to get tired and might get grumpy as a result. If you’re already tired and stressed, fireworks could follow! Try to ensure everybody gets a good night’s sleep before you even begin travelling – it could save a lot of trouble later…

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com.

Top Tips For A Stress-Free Family Move (1)

The Relocation Consultancy - Helping Assignees Settle In A New HomeThis week we will be posting a selection of articles to provide advice on what to keep in mind when relocating with children. The first article in this series considers approaches that may be useful prior to the actual move:

1. Keep the children involved. As soon as you know there’s even a possibility of a relocation, include your children in the conversations. Don’t wait until it’s a sure thing and then spring it on them.

 2. Respect their feelings. Listen to their concerns and tell them to come to you with their fears, anxieties and questions. Quite often, children can make assumptions that are quite far from the reality – keeping the lines of communication open with them will help them to adapt. Even if you are unable to accommodate their requests, treat their feelings with respect.

3. Get an age-appropriate book about moving. Younger children may not fully understand what ‘moving’ means. There are a wide variety of age-appropriate books about moving available that could be beneficial to read together.

 4. Explain everything, assume nothing. Assume your children know nothing about what a move entails. For example, young children may be confused about what they can and can’t take. They may need assurance that their toys, clothes and belongings will be put into boxes and taken to the new house. Walk around your house with them and point out the sorts of things that will go with you (e.g. “yes, your teddy is going to the new house; no, that carpet is going to stay here.”). Young children really do need it to be explained to them in very simple terms.

5. Reassure your children that you will remain a constant in their life. When young children lose the security of their family home, they may become insecure about losing other important things in their life. It is well worth reassuring them that, even when homes and friends have to change, you will always be there for them.

6. Make a memory board. If you’re relocating to a new country for work, or preparing for a long-distance move, it’s highly likely that you’ll be leaving family and friends behind. Help your children gather together photos of their favourite people/places and make a memory board with them. When you arrive at your destination, they can hang this memory board in a special place and see their loved ones every day.

7. Let the children help you pack. If they’re old enough, let your children help you pack/sort some of their personal belongings. If some items are being put into storage, ask them what they would like to keep and what they don’t mind parting with for a while.

 8. Take up babysitting offers. It’s hard to accomplish any task quickly with small children under foot, particularly if they enjoy unpacking items as you just put them in the box! Where possible, plan to pack when the kids are asleep, at playgroup or at school, and accept the help of friends and family to look after the kids where possible.

9. Time your move carefully. Sometimes, circumstances dictate when you have to move. However, if you do have a choice, try to time your move so that it occurs at a relatively calm period in your child’s life. Take school schedules into consideration, and avoid moving when other big changes (like potty-training) are happening, too.

10. Make sure you have a ‘contents list’ for each of the children’s boxes. If you’re travelling from overseas, the time between packing the box and opening the box can be weeks or even months! It’s highly unlikely you will be able to remember the detailed contents of each box without a list – knowing where a particular toy is could save a future tantrum!

11. Pack one box of toys last. If you pack all the toys away first, you’ll just be left with bored children who will need you to occupy them! Make sure you keep aside some of the toys and activities that you know will keep the children busy up until the last minute.

12. Plan a nice goodbye to your current home. Before you move, throw a going-away party for your kids with their friends. Make sure they know when they are going, when they will be back and how they can stay in touch with each other. Children love a celebration, and this can be a great way to turn your move into a positive, exciting experience.

If possible, try to help them maintain contact with their friends whilst they are away, perhaps by telephone, email, Skype and the internet.

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com.