Whether you are moving down the street or across the country, involving your kids in the home buying process can pave the way for a smoother transition for everyone. Engage your kids early in the home buying and moving process to give them time to adapt to the change. And be honest, answering any questions they might have about their new home and possibly their new community. While the extent to which the kids can be involved will vary depending on their ages, there are small but meaningful ways to engage the kids in this major family decision.
1. Create a Wish List
As a family, sit down and discuss the spaces and features that each would like to have in the new home. While you may get requests for an indoor gymnasium or princess castle, you also will gain insights into what is important to each member of the family. You might be surprised to hear that the kids would prefer to share a bedroom and have an extra playroom, or that your teenager would like a basement area to entertain friends. Considering how the kids would like to use the space will help you to find a home that is functional and comfortable for everyone.
2. Stay Focused
While it is important for the kids to be involved in the home buying process, it also is important that you stay focused. Depending on the kids’ ages, it may not make sense to have them view every home with you, but rather take them to see the houses that make your short list of possible homes. Once you select a home, leave the kids at home when it comes time to sign all of the papers and complete the financial transactions.
3. Get Creative
Although you probably want to maintain control over design choices for much of the home, your kids should have a say, as well. While you maintain veto control if the requests get out of control, let them pick the paint color for their bedroom or pick the decorations for the playroom. Encourage them to create original artwork that you can frame and use to decorate throughout the home.
4. Moving Day Helpers
Even the youngest kids can help pack and organize their toys and bedroom, and perhaps decide it is time to get rid of a few things before the move. However, don’t go overboard on purging kids’ items before moving, as it may add to their sense of anxiety. If they are anxious or sad about leaving their home, encourage them to leave behind a memento for the new owners to find—perhaps a painted stone in the garden or initials carved into a tree.
5. Just for the Kids
While moving might be exciting, it can also be a bit sad and cause kids anxiety. Consider surprising your kids with a splurge item in the new home that is just for them. Whether it is having a play set or trampoline installed in the backyard, or stocking the toy closet with new games, a little treat to discover upon moving in can go a long way towards a smoother move.
Moving can be stressful on everyone, but making your kids part of the home buying process can strengthen the family bond and make the experience more enjoyable.
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