As a Realtor – we get many telephone calls from sellers asking questions–“are houses selling these days? How long will it take to sell my home?” After providing information, the caller comes back this question, “we want to move to a new house in this area with these number of bedrooms and this many baths,for this price, can you help?
Typically these questions and statements are music to my ears. So what do I do? I get busy searching for homes that meet client’s needs—searching by bedrooms, baths, and price. You know — I could really use a new listing and buyer today…This is what we call a double deal.
I began thinking, rarely do we stop and think about how this residential move is going to affect the children. Everyday families with children are effected when the parents make a decision to sell and buy a new house.
Why is the seller moving? Reasons can vary. It can be job relocation, military orders, purchasing a bigger home or just downsizing. Either way when the family decides to make the move, it affects the children. Ever stopped to think–what about the children? What’s the long term effects?
Let’s face it, moving can be traumatic. Some children may be happy, and other children could be sad. What could make the difference in the behavior of the children? I believe it’s two things: information and involvement.
Think about it! If the children was informed and involved about the move, this could make minimize the stress.
• why move – better job, better school, military
• what is going to happen
• when is going to happen
• how will it happen, and even
• where the new house is located—in/out state
Perhaps it would be smart to ask the children their opinion about the move. Children are little people, but they still have feelings and should be considered. You can learn a lot from the children, just ask them. It’s never too early to discuss the moving process, such as, house hunting, location, or neighbors. This could reduce child’s anxiety and fears.
It’s the parent’s responsibility to make the moving transaction is as smooth as possible. Moving can be traumatic. Therefore, parents remember your children need a period of adjustment. Don’t be surprise if the child is anxious with unusual sleep disorders. However, attention to details during this transition period can result in a successful move for the entire family.
Here are TEN helpful tips to consider when making a moving with children.
Tip#1 Let children accompany you when viewing properties. When you find a house that meets the families’ need, let the children “play” pick your bedroom. Make it fun
by allowing children to visually place the furniture in each room. Ask for their opinion.
Tip #2 Draw a picture by saying can’t you see yourself running and playing in the back yard & enjoying the swing set. Engage them – make them feel that they are part of the buying decision. If they cannot be present for the viewings allow them to look at photos while you discuss in a story telling fashion. Best results could be videos.
Tip#3 Remind them that the new family & new children are excited about moving into this house and just as they did several years ago. This should motivate the children to help parents clean and leave house looking nice so the new family can enjoy it.
Tip#4 Let children have a “pizza packing party” and sleep over with their friends. Remind them to talk about how much fun they had with neighbors and their take turns discussing their “best” memories of each other. Parents take lots of pictures and even video the event for children – they’ll want to see when they get sad and lonely.
Tip#5 Drive by the new house (if possible) and identify places in the neighborhood to familiarize them with stores, parks, neighbors, schools, etc. Let them know that the new house will be the best thing for them and they will be happy once they get settled.
Tip#6 Throw a “Welcome to our new house” party for the neighbors. Your children can officially meet and greet
new friends which will make them feel welcome. This helps your children on the first day of school, so they won’t feel “out of place” plus they already know some of students on campus. See parents -it’s the little things that count.
Tip #7 Take them on a tour of the new school to meet the teachers and faculty. This helps them bond with the building so that it doesn’t feel like a “strange” place.
Children can be very adaptive to changes when strategies are put in place for their arrival.
Tip# 8 – Help them write a goodbye letter (include photo) to their old friends and mail it before you actually move out the house. Starts to bring some closure to the children prior to the actual move.
Tip#9 – Remind children that you own a car and they can visit your friends often, if possible. If not possible to drive, let them know you will not forget your former neighbors and will visit them in the near future. Don’t forget to say “you are just a telephone call away.”
Tip #10 – Involve your children in group activities, music, athletics similar to the ones in former neighborhood.
The older your child the more difficult it could be in accepting the change. The sooner you can determine the available school activities the better the child will accept the move—especially if the school has a winning team!
Remember parents, when moving to a new home, you must be patient, because your children are leaving behind a lot–home, school and friends for new unfamiliar territory.
Continue to reinforce the positive aspects of the move, by all means, parents remain calm.
The next time my telephone rings, and the caller says, “I need to sell my house,” the first question will be – are there any children—and do they know you are moving?
If yes, I’ll send a relocation kit’s pack.