There are a million and one things to do when moving house
- there’s packing, organising the removal van, finalising the paperwork and informing everyone under the sun (such as your utilities companies, bank and broadband provider) of your new address, and so, so much more.
Article of interest:
Reduce stress - Download our FREE Moving house checklist
The reality of the first night in your new home is probably a bit abstract at the moment, and no doubt rather low on your list of priorities. If you have children, though, it’s definitely worth spending a little bit of time planning how your first night is going to pan out. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did!
Here are five ideas for what to do when moving house with your children. They’ll help you to celebrate life in your new family home on that first, exciting night. These moving house tips and tricks have been chosen knowing full well that you’ll be shattered after a day of moving boxes, so they’re not too time-consuming or energy-sapping!
1. Give them a job
By early evening, hopefully all the boxes will be in your new home and allocated to the right rooms. Your children will no doubt have already chosen their own room(s) and once you’ve put their beds, wardrobes and any other furniture in place, they can be in charge of unpacking their toys, teddies and books. This will help them to feel settled and have some ownership of their rooms and belongings, and give them a sense of having some control after a rather chaotic day.
They might need or want your help with this important job, or they might want to feel grown up and do it themselves - follow their lead, no matter how impatient you might be to get on with unloading the boxes in your kitchen or own room! They can help you with those rooms in the morning, or have a bit of time watching TV while you work - one day in front of a screen isn’t going to hurt.
2. Help your children mark out their territories!
Once they’ve unpacked their room(s), they may enjoy some art and craft time. That sounds like it might be a nightmare, with glitter and sequins added to all the other chaos of moving day, but this is a nice, containable activity.
If you’re super organised, you could buy wooden or chalk door plates for your children’s bedrooms that they can decorate with their names and artwork with felt tip pens or chalk pens, ready to hang on their new bedroom doors. If not, give them some card and felt tip pens and show them how to use bubble writing to draw their names or ‘Keep Out’ signs!
Oh, and keep the cardboard boxes you’ve used for moving, after they’ve been unpacked. You can flatten them for easy storage and reconstruct them to provide plenty of opportunities to build forts, castles and cars.
3. Pizza picnic
Tonight is not the night to cook. You’ll be shattered, all your pans and cooking paraphernalia will be here, there and everywhere, and you’ll all be starving. Plan to have an easy but exciting dinner together.
You could order pizzas or any other takeaway you all enjoy, spread a blanket on the floor and eat it like a picnic. Put on a film while you eat dessert and get settled for the night.
4. Banish bedtime
Sometimes, as a parent, you have to pick your battles. If you set a bedtime for your children and they’re still bouncing off the walls two hours later, you’re all going to be pretty cheesed off with each other. Instead, accept from the outset that nobody is going to get much sleep that night - however tired you may all be! Just give them a place to relax and nod off when they’re ready, or better yet all get settled at the same time so that they feel secure and content.
5. Set up camp
Having decided not to bother with a traditional bedtime, you can still get a decent night’s sleep if you create a fun but comforting alternative. Your children might be anxious about sleeping alone in their new bedrooms - the house will have different sounds to the ones they’re used to hearing at night, and the shadows will look different.
Rather than having to trail up the stairs every ten minutes to reassure them, why not all have a little camp out downstairs? Set up the living room with the sofa cushions, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets - better yet, make use of your moving boxes and get your children to make their own forts! Mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows, a favourite bedtime story and lots of cuddles will help them to settle and be a lovely, cosy way to spend your first night together.
Although those ideas are all a lovely way to celebrate your first night in your new home, in the interests of your own sanity it’s important that you stress to your children that this is a special occasion and not the ‘new norm’!
After the first night, try to re-establish your old routines quickly, however busy life may be as you settle in properly. Set a bedtime and allow for wind-down time as a family each evening, even if that means putting unpacking or decorating jobs on hold until the next day.
Enjoy this new chapter of your life together and have fun making your new house your family home!