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How Do Kids React to a House Relocation?

posted: 16/09/2020

House removals are stressful. In fact, psychologists place them amongst the top life-changing events a person can experience alongside the sudden loss of a family member, long-term illness and divorce. Imagine how a child will feel if the impact is so significant for the grownups around it. The change can be even more significant if you are relocating to a big city like London, where everything is brighter, messier and louder. How to be certain your kids are handling the move well, and what can you do to make it easier for them? These are just some of the questions we will answer below.

How Will Your Baby React to a House Relocation?

baby in a London houseTo be fair, all your little bundle needs in its first months are food, clean diapers and lots of sleep. Babies don’t care if they live in a small village or the capital, as long as they are loved and attended to. Here the load falls on the parents to provide the best environment for the proper development of their offspring. That said you can expect some of the following reactions:

  • Extreme fussiness
  • Crying
  • Lost of sleep
  • Change in the daily feeding routine

All should calm down a few days after you settle in your new home. There are no long-term negative effects you should be worried about. Every baby develops differently, and at its own pace, that said the perfect time to change homes will be:

  • After the colics stop;
  • Before the serious teething begins;
  • Before the little one begins to walk on its own.

You will be less stressed out and be able to finish much more work.

How Can Moving Affect Your Toddler?

sleeping kid

The relocation will have close to no negative effect on children under the age of 5. At this time, toddlers have a short attention span, as their brain’s capability of creating long-term memories has not fully developed yet.
According to a study done by the MacArthur Foundation ” Residential moves between birth and kindergarten, for example, impeded social-emotional but not cognitive functioning in kindergarten.” This means your little one will experience some shock and stress due to the relocation, but all will pass relatively fast. The main reason behind the distress is the change of the daily routine and the home environment. Parents should be on the lookout for the following signs:

  • Temper tantrums get more frequent, as they start for no apparent reason
  • Potty trained toddlers begin to wet the bed again
  • Searching for security and stability, kids will become more clingy and can even start sucking their thumbs.
  • In an attempt to receive attention, some children can begin with the baby talk again.

What can you do as a parent if you notice a change in your toddler’s behaviour?

Simple, spend as much time as you can with your children. Show them there is nothing to be afraid of, they are not alone, and you love them. Make the relocation seem like something good and existing. Tell bedtime stories in which the fictional characters move to a new home and have lots of fun. Give your kids someone they can associate with. The bond between toddlers and their parents is extremely strong, so as long as you are not stressed and in a good mood, the kids will feel calm. Organise a day at the park or visit a petting zoo. London is full of kid-friendly places, use them to your advantage.

How Will Preadolescent Children Take the Relocation?

It depends on the kid, but the older they get, the harder the transition. Between the ages of 5 to 12 children begin to develop their social skills and personality. They start to create friend circles and create strong bonds. A relocation to an unknown city where they don’t have friends will be hard for the little guys. More often, the parents can spot some of the following behaviour changes:

  • kid in London homeInsomnia or the inability to fall asleep can occur right after the relocation. The children will feel exhausted, and it can even lead to depression if not treated correctly.
  • Night terrors are another sleep problem that can haunt your kids. Seek immediate medical help to avoid the development of serious anxiety.
  • Eating disorders are a frequent symptom. Children will refuse to eat or will start overeating.
  • Kids can become shy and lose interest in their previous hobbies.
  • At school, they may exhibit aggressive behaviour, refuse to stay in class or lack of concentration.
  • Frequent nail or lip biting can be a sign that something is wrong. Smaller children can even start to pull their hair.

To minimise the effect of the relocation on the little ones, you need to do a couple of things:

  • Include them in the conversation. The minute you are 100% certain the relocation will happen, start a discussion with your offspring. Speak with them like an adult and explain why you need to move.
  • Ask questions. You need to get them excited, so ask them about everything – how will their room look, which toys are they going to pack first, where they want to go once in London, etc.
  • Take into consideration their schedule. If there are any school events or birthday parties they want to attend, make sure to organise the move around their needs.
  • Check the new place. If possible, take your kids to see your new home, make a fun day out of it. See where the closest park or community centre is. Show them how enchanting London can be.
  • Involve them in the packing. Buy special boxes, colourful stickers and everything else you can think of that will excite them. Let them prepare their stuff for transportation. Don’t worry, your movers will make sure everything will be delivered safely. For some packing ideas check our complete moving guide, surely you will find some fun packing tasks for your little ones.

How to Relocate with a Teenager?

teen sad in their London house

House removals at this age are hard, there is no way around it. Your teen won’t be very happy they have to leave their life and go to a new place. The good news is that they are older now, thus you can speak more clearly with them. And speak, you must. Explain in detail why you need to move and emphasise on the benefits they will get from it. Use this experience to straighten the bond between you and your child. Stay on the lookout for the following:

  • Falling behind in school, low grades and a sudden lack of motivation can all be an indicator something is wrong.
  • Bullying or aggressive behaviour are some serious red flags you have to acknowledge.
  • Eating disorders are fairly common amongst teens, especially when they are feeling anxious and unhappy.
  • Losing their friend group and social circle can result in developing depression, so watch carefully how your teens adapt to the new environment.

How to speak to a teenager?

You are not the first, and definitely not the last one pondering upon this question. Let’s be honest, nagging and shouting will get you nowhere. You need to speak to your children, as they are an adult and try not to sound condescending or overprotective. Give them some space and let them know you love them, and you are there for them. However, if you notice things are going in the wrong direction, seek professional help. Many good psychiatrists in London work with kids and teens and will be happy to assist you if needed.

What Can Parents Do to Help Their Children During the House Removal?

Being a parent is not easy to start with, and a house removal will only test your capabilities even more. Regardless of how old is your child, there are a couple of fundamentals you have to remember:

  • Show your love. Kids need to know that they are loved and have the support of their parents.
  • Don’t yell. Yes, the relocation is stressful, but there is no need to make the situation worse by making your child anxious and nervous. Leave the prep to your moving company and focus on your family dynamic. Speak your mind calmly and try to avoid fighting especially in front of your offspring.
  • Spend quality time together. Show your kids you understand their feelings and try to ease the atmosphere by organising family events. It can be as simple as a picnic or a visit to the zoo or cinema.
  • Be patient. There is bound to be some problems after all your kids are leaving their friends behind. Try to be understanding and give them enough time to adjust. This may mean to let them stay at home for a while. Don’t force them to go to school or kindergarten right away. A day or two won’t make such a difference in their academic development but will benefit their mental one gravely.
  • Take their opinion into consideration. So what if your child wants to paint butterflies on their bedroom wall? They are expressing themselves, and more importantly, they are making an effort to transform the new environment into a home where they feel comfortable.

As long as you don’t go overboard with these and follow your parental instincts, you should be fine. If you have two or more children, the need to hire an experienced moving team rises. Leave the packing, loading and unloading to the professionals and focus your efforts on accommodating your kids.


Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Removals for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with moving companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Removals with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.

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