Moving is both exciting and stressful for all of us, at any age. But for children, the fear of the unfamiliar can sometimes override the excitement. But you can help them focus on the exciting part while reassuring them that their new life will include many familiar things – including their favourite toys. Shipping personal items that comfort them can make the whole transition much easier on them.
We all feel better when we have control in a situation. It can help kids to have some age-appropriate say in which of their things they bring to their new home. At the same time, parents can save a lot of hassle and debate by introducing some criteria rather than simply giving them a limited number of items or a box to fill. The older they are, the better they can understand the reasoning behind decisions about shipping personal items. Explaining your decisions about which of your own personal belongings you are bringing can give children a good example and remind them the whole family is doing this together.
Deciding Which Toys to Bring
Before you talk to your children about what to bring, it helps to reduce their options. Narrowing the focus with specific questions makes it easier for them. Ask them to pick ten soft toys or their favourite football. Assemble an assortment of toys you think are good to bring and ask them to pick a certain number of them. Using some basic criteria can help you narrow the options before you talk to the kids.
- How much longer will it be useful? Children outgrow things, and they also wear them out. Don’t take things near the end of their useful life, unless it is an extremely sentimental item you wish to save, or it is in good nick and can be used by younger children in the family.
- Will it be useful in your new location? Think about the climate and the type of housing you will have. Bringing a drum set to an apartment is a questionable idea! Before you start selecting things, talk to your child about what their everyday life will be like so they are not surprised when you explain that a particular item isn’t coming because they won’t use it there.
- What is easily replaced? This has two important aspects. First, some toys might not be available in some areas, particularly character toys or GAA gear. Second, shops there might have hundreds of duplicates of a beloved doll, but they won’t be the one your child already loves.
- What is easy to bring? Soft toys are easy. Elaborate things that involve loads of fiddly little pieces are not. You probably do not want to reassemble things when you are unpacking.
- What do you love and hate? Shipping personal items involve a lot of asking yourself if you would miss something. Moving is a great opportunity to say goodbye to the toys that make annoying noises or inspire a lot of sibling conflict.
Compromise is important. If you ask your child to pick four dolls and she picks five, bringing the fifth shows you are listening. Shipping personal items can reassure children that their new home will include familiar things. Keeping their focus on the adventure ahead will also keep them more excited about the move than stressed. If they are passing along toys they aren’t bringing, it’s a good time to watch Toy Story 3 and remind them they are being like Andy!