Welcome back, Weekend Warriors! It’s Saturday, so time for more moving tips. Today is devoted to those relocating to London with a family and how moving with kids can pose a special challenge.
I’ve certainly addressed a-plenty how moving overseas can be an emotional adjustment, and though I don’t yet have children, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to manage their emotions during the process as well. One of the best ways you can help your kids better adjust is to not spring the news on them at the last-minute. Bring them in the know as soon as possible to allow them time to get used to the idea of moving before it actually happens. Talk them through the process and preview what they can expect once there as a way of creating familiarity around the unfamiliar—talk about where they’ll live, attend school, and play, highlighting places like parks and museums that they’ll get to visit, looking up British kids shows they’ll get to watch (some already play in the States like Thomas and Chuggington), and anything else you know they would look forward to. And even if you’re stressed out and certain logistics might not be going to plan, stay positive for the kids’ sake; otherwise, your anxiety could pass onto them.
You can involve kids in the packing process as well by letting them help sort their own belongings, deciding what to pack and what they might so generously donate to charity to benefit less fortunate children. Maybe keep a few favorite toys, books, and/or other sentimental items out of the boxes and checked luggage so they can carry them on the plane for security during the flight and the transition time before the international movers deliver your shipment. In the same interest of reuniting them with what they know in a new context, consider asking the movers to load your kids’ specially marked boxes last so that they’ll be unloaded at your new London apartment first.
I’ve also heard of families that compile scrapbooks of memories from home for children to revisit, as well as create special moving scrapbooks to involve kids in documenting the process and almost making a game of it.
The key is staying mindful of how your decision to move is impacting your children as well as yourself and working/playing through the adjustments as a team unit (see my previous post, “The Stress Test: Weathering Your Move to London“). There’s a lot you and those little tykes have to look forward to with all the London activities for kids, and remember, “home” is wherever your family is.