Support strategies

for young children moving house

Physical safety

Secure attachments

Moving house can create a number of physical risks - for example, piles of boxes precariously balanced on one another; parts of furniture leaning against walls; loose tools. One way of ensuring that you and your child stay safe throughout the move is to have a safety checklist. You could look around each room and do a risk assessment together. Not only will this help your property to be safer, but it will also increase your child's awareness of potential risks and how to avoid them.

Children feel safe when they know there is a loving adult close by. Taking time out of your busy house move to play or read a story together will keep that attachment healthy and enable your child to feel secure, even if they are insecure about their new environment. Deliberately taking time out to play will also give you a break and enable some wind-down time to de-stress. Stress can create challenges for parenting processes so breaks are needed for your own sanity!

Support networks

Everyone needs friends! If you are moving to a brand new area, it might be worth looking up a local facebook group for parents, a church or any group you might share an interest with. See if you can meet some other families before you move so that your child has some familiar faces to help them settle in to your new community. If your child attends nursery or preschool, try and make sure they continue attending the same sessions for the sake of continuity.  

Games to play

Doll's house role play


It's good fun to role play a house move with two doll's houses, packing up the furniture and moving it from one place to the other. Ask your friends if anyone can lend you a doll's house or two for this. It might help your child to understand what is going to happen.

Building a box house/den


You're sure to have at least one spare cardboard box that could be converted into a den. If your child uses a den to play in for a day or two before the move, re-create the den again in your new home. This would provide a familiar and safe space for them.

Reading stories


There are plenty of books available for children about moving house. Head down to your local library and have a browse - these fiction and non-fiction stories are often in the 'situation books' section, near to the children and youth books.

Creating your child's story


Take some photos or encourage your child to draw pictures of your old and new homes. Put the pictures together with a daily diary of what is happening and how your child is feeling. They can look back at this to help them talk through their emotions.

Moving house can be a positive experience for everyone if stressors are reduced. If people offer to help, let them. Take regular breaks. Look after yourself.