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Do kids hold the keys? How little ones really feel about moving house

Our latest insights reveal how children really feel about moving house - and find out how to manage the move with kids in tow.

Words by: Ellie Isaac

Senior Editor

How much influence do your kids have on your home move?

For most parents, the answer is - a lot. 

Nearly 9 in 10 parents say they’d consult with their children before deciding to move home, and a fifth (20%) would let them decide altogether.

And with 26% of homeowners moving with kids in tow (according to the English Housing Survey), it’s no wonder that kids are holding the keys to more and more home decisions.

In fact, our kids’ opinions can put us off a move. A third of parents (32%) say an objection from their child has put paid to a potential move in the past.

But consulting children about the move definitely seems to be the way to go. Nearly all (96%) of kids in our survey said their parents should speak to them about moving house and 57% say they should ‘take their thoughts into consideration’.

What are kids worried about when moving?

Amongst those whose children acted in any negative way, 37% say their children were worried about changing schools. 

34% say they were worried about moving away from friends and a third (33%) say the conversation resulted in tears. 

We might be overthinking it

While the initial idea of a home move can be upsetting for children, they usually see the actual move as a great thing once it’s done.

More than three quarters (77%) of children we asked about their move said they ended up preferring their new home once they were in.

Whilst 29% of parents say they thought their children would be ‘worried’ and 17% thought they would be ‘sad’ - when they were told, children were most likely to be ‘excited’ (46%) or ‘happy’ (45%) according to the kids survey. 

And when they actually moved, 58% of children say they ‘loved the new home’ and 46% say they ‘loved their new bedroom’. 

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How can you help your kids with a move?

Here are our top tips on talking to children about a move. 

“Our research shows that come moving day, kids’ are overwhelmingly excited about the prospect of a new home, and the new possibilities for their bedrooms, new friends and new areas to explore," says our Consumer Expert, Dan Copley.

"The key for parents is to get kids’ involved in the moving process from the beginning, to get them excited about all of the possibilities a new home can bring them.”  

Here are Dan’s top tips for moving home with children.

1. Be positive when you first bring it up

Kids often mirror your mood and energy, so starting a conversation in a positive manner is key. Using language such as ‘we have something very exciting to tell you’ is likely to get things off to a better start.

2. Focus on what won’t change

Routine is key for children and the mention of moving may immediately throw up assumptions about moving school or away from their friends. 

If you’re moving nearby, be clear that most things are going to stay the same - just in a more suitable home. If you are moving far away, reassure them that they will still be able to bring all their favourite toys and belongings with them.

Some children automatically assume moving home means leaving everything - such as furniture and toys - behind too.

3. Bring them on the journey

As the research shows, making the kids feel like they are being consulted will help, even if in reality, the decision will lie with you. 

Take them on viewings. Ask what colour they want to decorate their bedroom. Even asking questions such as ‘What room do you think Grandma would like to stay in when she visits?’ can make them feel like they are part of the move - rather than it being something that is just happening to them. 

4. Focus on the benefits

Put yourself in the mind of your child and think about what will get them excited about a move.

For example, if they will have a bigger bedroom or a nice garden they can play football in. 

Look at what is nearby - is there a great dance studio or go kart track that you will be able to visit? Giving them some exciting positives to focus on can really help to counteract their worries.

5. Be prepared for tears

The idea of a move can feel scary and overwhelming initially, and this may continue for some time. 

If this is the case, don’t be put off a move entirely. The research demonstrates that in the vast majority of cases, children are happy they moved. Sometimes it is a case of holding your nerve and trusting that you are doing the right thing for them in the long run.

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