5 expert tips for a stress-free house move with kids – and #2 is genius to avoid tears and tantrums

One in five parents say they’d ‘let their kids decide’ whether to move house or not

Black family with two children holding boxes ready to move into their new house
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Moving house can be pretty overwhelming for lots of parents, especially when you think about how much this kind of change might shake up the kids. 

It's really easy for parents to forget that the mundanity of family life is also someone's childhood, and that childhood memories can shape who we are. From navigating parenting styles to starting school, kids face a lot of changes as they grow up – and one seismic shift in their life would also be a house move. It turns out though, that kids might just be the secret sauce for family moves, says new research.

A huge 87 percent of parents are now saying they’d ‘consult’ with their children before moving house and 20 percent are relinquishing some control over the situation, and would ‘do what their children want and let them decide’. The study by Zoopla found that people are shifting away from the ‘parents know everything’ approach as more adopt a permissive parenting style. About 32 percent admitted that their child’s disapproval has stopped a house move dead in its tracks, while some even backed out of offers (11 percent) or cancelled purchases (eight percent) because of their kids’ reactions. 

Daniel Copley, consumer expert for the property search website, said: “Most parents know that routine is important for young children and change can be unsettling – especially something as significant as moving home. However, while many children may get upset about the idea at first, for most, it is a positive and beneficial experience when it actually happens – and as a father who has moved home with my own children, this was very much my own experience too.

“Our research shows that come moving day, kids’ are overwhelmingly excited about the prospect of a new home, and the new possibilities for their bedrooms, new friends and new areas to explore. The key for parents is to get kids’ involved in the moving process from the beginning, to get them excited about all of the possibilities a new home can bring them.”  

5 tips for moving home with children

1. Be positive when you first bring it up

Starting a conversation on a positive note is crucial because kids often reflect your mood and energy. “Using language such as 'we have something very exciting to tell you' is likely to get things off to a better start,” suggests Daniel. 

2. Focus on what won’t change

Routine is key for children, and bringing up the idea of moving might instantly trigger some concerns about changing schools or being separated from their friends. “If you’re moving nearby, be clear that most things are going to stay the same, just in a more suitable home,” Daniel says. Moving further away? Daniel advises to reassure them that they’ll still be able to bring all their favourite toys and belongings with them: “Some children automatically assume moving home means leaving everything – such as furniture and toys – behind too.” 

Cute toddler helping out packing boxes and moving

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Bring them on the journey

As the research shows, making the kids feel like they’re involved as much as possible could help, even when the final decision is yours. Taking them on viewings and asking what colour they’d like their new bedroom to be are great ways to get them excited. Daniel points out: “Even asking questions such as ‘What room do you think Grandma would like to stay in when she visits?’ can make them feel like they are part of the move, rather than it being something that is just happening to them.”

4. Focus on the benefits

Imagine you’re in your kid’s shoes and discuss with your partner – or other family member – about what would make them excited about moving. Maybe a bigger bedroom or spacious garden to play hide and seek in. “Giving them some exciting positives to focus on can really help to counteract their worries,” says Daniel. 

5. Be prepared for tears

Moving house is a big deal for adults, let alone small children. It can be hard in the first stages, too, but don’t make that put you off the move entirely. “Sometimes, it’s a case of holding your nerve and trusting that you are doing the right thing for them in the long run,” Daniel assures. 

But here’s the thing – despite parents’ worries – according to the research, 77 percent of kids who’ve been through a move mostly loved their new homes. It’s understandable, of course, that the children were worried about changing schools and having to make new friends. So, it turns out, giving kids a say – even if you don’t follow their lead – is a smart move.

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Daniella Gray
Family News & Wellbeing Writer

From building healthy family relationships to self-care tips for mums and parenting trends - Daniella also covers postnatal workouts and exercises for kids. After gaining a Print Journalism BA Hons degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Nottingham Trent University, Daniella started writing for Health & Wellbeing and co-hosted the Walk to Wellbeing podcast. She has also written for Stylist, Natural Health, The Sun UK and Fit & Well. In her free time, Daniella loves to travel, try out new fitness classes and cook for family and friends.