Tempting as it may be to organise your move without the kids around, it will help them feel part of the process if you can include them in some way.
Start by encouraging them to sort out all their toys and games. It may be hard to get them to throw anything away, but it’s worth a try. You can always step in at some point, but do let them get on with it as much as you can. Ask them to put everything into three piles; things to take to their new home, broken toys into another pile to throw away and a third pile of things they no longer want but can be given away. Yes, you will have to intervene, but be understanding! Moving house is a difficult concept for a child.
Just before moving day, prepare a box especially for your child to pack with their very special items. Label it with your child’s name and let them decorate it if they wish. Then it will be easy to find at your new home and they can unpack it directly into their own room.
Get a small backpack for them to take on the journey and into that place a few snacks, travel-friendly games, a book and a special stuffed toy. In your own baggage, ensure you have a change of clothes for them, more snacks, and a surprise item or two such as an activity book or a new game. You never know when you may be delayed in transit.
Once your boxes arrive at your new home, enlist your child’s help to unpack their own boxes. As well as making the unpacking easier for you, your child will be suitably distracted with all their toys while you unpack everything else.
By Carole Hallett Mobbs
Carole is British and currently living in Berlin after spending five years in Tokyo. She travels with her husband and daughter, plus a well-travelled cat and a dog – and far too many boxes full of ‘stuff’. She is the founder and main writer at ‘Your Expat Child’ http://expatchild.com which is full of advice for parents relocating overseas with their children.