Buying or selling your family home and moving is not easy on any of us. Here are some ideas on how to transition your kids and pets smoothly through their move.
INTRODUCE THEM TO THEIR NEW HOME BEFORE MOVING DAY
Once you remove all the contingencies, you’re ready to close your escrow in a few weeks and your agent gives you the green light, schedule a quick visit for your whole family. Wander and explore the home and yard together. Show your children which rooms will be their’s. Talk about how they’ll eat breakfast at the kitchen counter, how you’ll barbeque and eat outside, and have movie nights in the new family room. Don’t forget your pets so they can “sniff out” their new surroundings!
If you typically include your children in major family decisions, consider including them in choosing bedroom. This way, everyone begins to feel more comfortable with the move. It helps build the excitement of “ownership” in their new home.
MY PILE’S BIGGER THAN YOUR’S!
Teaching kids when and how to “purge” is a lifelong lesson. Moving is a wonderful opportunity for this teaching moment. In the same manner many organizers instruct us to make three piles – Keep, Toss, Unsure – do this with our kids. Make it fun by turning it into a game!
After you have started making your own piles (clothing, kitchen, garage), bring your kids into the process. Challenge them to do the same. Start out by doing it together. Then, give them a couple of days, and see what they’ve come up with. You can make a game out of it by comparing “Toss” piles (versus you and/or your other kids) and come up with fun prizes, like a much needed trip to the park or an ice cream treat.
CREATE “NEAT ZONES” FOR SHOWINGS
Getting the kids to tidy up their rooms and play areas inside and outside is hard enough. Doing it repeatedly for last-minuteshowings can wear everyone thin. I counsel my clients to ensure the kids rooms and play areas are tidy for the “first look” in the room. It’s okay
if the kids throw loose toys, clothes, etc into the closed closet, or large bin that is neatly tucked in the corner. As long as t
he main “zone” of the room is neat, people viewing the house will recognize what it took for the kids to tidy their rooms.
TREATS FOR KIDS AND PETS GO A LONG WAY
Your agent will do her
best to coordinate showings around your family schedule – ideally they will be times you’ve already planned to be out of the house. However, there will be times when you need to clear out for a specific showing. Is this a good time to walk to everybody’s favorite ice cream shop? Or catch a movie together? If you are using this time to run errands and now the kids are being dra
gged along, is it possible to give them extra time on their electronics, or maybe get their favorite take-out food from the grocery store or restaurant? And don’t forget special little treats for your pets! Ideally, you might even use this time to take a nice long walk through your new neighborhood. Your pet will begin to learn new scents and trails, and the whole family will start to learn local landmarks. You will probably run into other families, kids and pets!
IF YOUR KIDS NEED TO CHANGE SCHOOL AS PART OF THE MOVE, WORK WITH YOUR AGENT TO TIME YOUR MOVE
Most families prefer to end the school year at their current school and move during the early summer so they can start to meet new friends in the neighborhood, and get involved in school and park activities before the new school year begins. My first advice is to work closely with your agent to try to in fact MAKE this ideal timing possible. You might be able to negotiate post-close timing to stay in your own home through the end of the school-year by “leasing back” from the new Buyers of your home. You may be able to negotiate the same with your Sellers – after the close, they have a few months to move out, during which time they pay you a monthly rent. Or perhaps you want to do repairs and light renovation on your new home, and can schedule this before you move in, and while your kids are finishing up the school year.
There are many scenarios and ideas to work through. Remember to be clear with your communication and work closely with your agent. She is there to help you explore every possibility and make your transition run as smoothly as possible.