Moving away from Australia means a whole new way of life and lots of uncertainty, so the first priority when you arrive should be on securing the sanctuary, safety and security of your new home.
RSS international removals move Aussies to Scotland and the UK regularly, and explain how this means making it safe, familiar and homely for your children, pets and every member of the family.
1. Scour for potential dangers
Before letting everybody loose around the property, walk around and check the house structure, joints, pipes and utilities to see if there’s anything that is in a poor state or needs repair.
It is absolutely necessary to identify and ‘child-proof’ any potentially dangerous areas or situations, be it sharp edges or things that could break or move under the influence of an unsuspecting child or animal.
2. Put the kids in place
Children are more vulnerable to change as they simply haven’t build up the experience to deal with it, so it’s recommended that you organise and decorate children’s rooms first. Make it look at least similar to their previous place of refuge, with the same toys or familiar items that can help provide a sense of security and familiarity.
Older children can be helped to really tackle and understand the changing environment by being involved in the unpacking process. Letting a child decide on where their things go gets them involved and helps them retain an element of control in the unfamiliar situation.
“We made sure that the first things we had ready at the new house were our daughter’s cot and a few familiar toys ready for her arrival — I can still remember the look of confusion, yet happiness, when she arrived at the new house and saw her bedroom for the first time.”
Emma Button at mellowmummy.co.uk
3. Bring your old home to the new
Making the house feel like a home is vital to the settling in process. Take the entire family and kids around the house, introducing each room and getting everybody involved to move across pictures or decorations from your previous place. This helps everybody see how the new house is their home just like the last.
Maintaining old routines is also essential in the immediate period after the move, despite the strains and pressures that may exist. Sleeping and eating patterns must be retained to maintain continuity and normality for the family, especially young children or babies. The more that remains the same the less likely your children are too add to your moving stress!
4. Lay down the law
Often everything can’t remain the same, and it’s important to put in place new rules and boundaries immediately so that it doesn’t become a lasting issue. A new area or building might present new dangers — such as dangerous areas in a garden or a busy road — and new rules could be important to keep everybody safe. It may also be an opportunity to put in place new guidelines for the future as the children get older, but be careful not to introduce too much change.
It will often not be easy to implement but these boundaries are important, and it’s vital to stay strong and force the change.
5. Focus on building and maintaining relationships
Keeping social is important both for you and the whole family, and will help you settle and make the most of your new location! Introduce yourself to neighbours and find out more about who is living locally and what they get up to. Look into groups or activities locally, and consider setting challenges (rewarded) for everybody to introduce themselves to new people.
As well as meeting new friends, be ensure to maintain close connections with existing friends. If at all possible children will really enjoy having their friends around, but even a Skype call back home will let the kids show off their rooms and keep these important supportive ties. As long as they’re being safe online then let them use this friend support until they can make new companions.
Read the full Ultimate Family Moving Guide for more tips on moving with family.