Moving house

— Skylight Trust

Sooner or later, many families face the prospect of moving. No matter how often families change residence, moving brings with it a variety of emotions.

Deciding to move to a new house begins a string of reactions within any family. Every situation is different, every child and teen is different, but some struggle with the changes.

Tips for managing a move:

  • Communicate. Talk with your family, whatever their ages, about why you’re moving. Keep them informed about what’s happening. Identify the positives of the move, but also honestly acknowledge that moving isn’t easy and will mean changes. Give them time to get used to the idea
  • Encourage questions. They may need to ask questions to check on things they didn’t take in at first, or they are worrying about
  • Expect reactions. They are a natural response to change. Talk with them and listen well. They may have physical reactions, as well as emotional ones. These can be in the form of tummy pains, headaches, thumb sucking or bed wetting, tearfulness, feeling low, changes in eating or sleeping. They may become clingy or withdrawn, have difficulty concentrating and act out. This is normal. They may require extra attention and reassurance. If, a few weeks after the move, you are concerned that the reactions are not shifting, or have become more serious, see your GP
  • Ahead of the move help them learn about their new community, school, and other facilities. Show them photos or maps, if you are unable to see the new place in advance
  • Involve them in decision-making whenever possible. Invite their ideas. Use their help
  • When it comes time to move, many find it helpful to think of ways to say goodbye. Everyone’s different, but acknowledging the change and loss openly, certainly helps the process along
  • Meet the neighbours. Introduce yourself and your children to neighbours in whatever ways work for you. It can help families feel linked in more quickly, to their new community. It can feel awkward, but it can make a positive difference to settling in
  • Encourage and help your children to keep in touch with old friends, as well as finding new ones. This is part of the journey, especially for teens whose peers are so important to them
  • Remember that being super stressed is very likely to increase your family’s stress.

Related Skylight Books and Publications:

New Home Youth Leaflet

Big Ernie's New Home: A Story for Children Who Are Moving

Saying Good-bye, Saying Hello – When Your Family Is Moving

Resources Available at Skylight

Skylight is here to help you through difficult times. We can assist you in a variety of ways with information appropriate for your situation. You are welcome to visit us and receive free information and a support pack from our resource centre and borrow books from the specialist library. We also facilitate Professional Development training and offer Counselling support services for children, young people, family/whānau and individuals who are experiencing tough times.

Request a Pack Library

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