My husband and I used to live quite a simple life in a small(ish) 1-bedroom, 850sqft, apartment. We had exactly what we needed and nothing more (other than probably too many clothes and shoes). Fast forward 5+ years and we are now living in a much bigger space and have filled almost every room. What’s changed? Their names are Norah and Elliot; our sweet babies. Let’s face it kids, as darling as they are, come with a LOT of stuff. If you are a parent you know this too well already. The thought of packing an entire house and preparing for a move can be daunting and this is amplified when you have children. But the good news is, you can get them involved and help make the move a family endeavor.
First, try not to think about all the “stuff” you may have accumulated since having children. Instead use your move as an opportunity to declutter some of the toys or baby products that you might not be using anymore. Get each child to pick maybe 5 toys they can’t live without and still play with day-to-day, 5 toys they want to donate, and another 5 toys to try and sell. With the money, from the toys they do sell, they can put it towards something for their new house or new room. Not only is the bonus of doing this, that you’ll have less to pack up and move, but your children will feel involved in the process; and that can often, in itself, help to create “buy in” if they are at all apprehensive of a move.
If your move isn’t too far away, take a day, prior to your move, to visit your new neighbourhood. Take your kids to the park that will be closest to them, show them where they’ll go to school, where the rec centre is, shopping mall, etc. They may even make some new friends while at the park or you could sign them up for a class at the rec centre. If you can, try to also set up an appointment at their new school to get a tour, and meet their new teacher and classmates. By doing a tour of your new town you’re helping to create familiarity for your kids, which may help reduce any anxieties they may have about moving. This can also (hopefully) help to get them excited. If your move is not close enough to visit for the day to do these things, use the Internet and Google Earth to do a tour of your new town, maybe even try to organize a Skype tour of your children’s new school.
Another suggestion is to see if your new neighbourhood has a social media page. In our neighbourhood we have a great community page and I often see parents (that are new to the area) posting on behalf of their children to set up playdates. Another great reason for joining a neighbourhood page is to ask your new neighbours for referrals: What’s the best pediatric dentist around, family doctor, optometrist, daycare, etc.?
Finally, ask your Realtor for tips on family friendly activities and events that you can do once you move. Your Realtor will be very knowledgeable about the area he/she works in and may have some great suggestions and resources. I know I do!
Fiona White – REALTOR® with Sutton Group – West Coast Realty