My Lessons Learned About Moving With Kids
This has been one of the hardest weeks I ever worked as a nanny because the family I work for moved to a new house. Although the move is a positive change, all change is stressful and I pushed myself too hard and burned-out at times this week. Looking back over the past week here are a few lessons I learned about helping a family move into a new home.
I am not super woman:
The biggest mistake I made was trying to everything and anything to help the family in the new home. I am only one person who cannot do it all.
Focus on the kids:
With so much to do including: cleaning, unpacking, organizing, and following contractors around the home, I became overwhelmed and distracted from the care of the children. I am the nanny and must put the children first. Despite the immediate need to organize, clean, and do laundry, making the children comfortable and allowing them to have fun is always more important than having all of the laundry done. My housekeeping standards must take a back seat to the children as my main focus.
Keep a normal schedule with children:
Regular schedules help kids feel secure (and me too). It helps them know what to expect, a sense of order, and in control.
Welcome children's questions about moving:
Open lines of communication go a long way toward helping children feel comfortable when moving into a new home. No matter how irrational their fears may be, children need to feel validated, listened to, and understood. Just because I know there are no monsters in their new bedroom closets and that they will easily make new friends at school, that doesn't make their fears any less real or important to them.
Be positive and upbeat about the move:
I allowed myself to get overwhelmed this week and my stress level affects the kids. My attitude always affects the children's attitude. My new focus will be to be enthusiastic, upbeat, and positive about the new experiences and opportunities in store, so that the children will be more likely to feel the same way.
Let the kids help with the move:
Even before the family moved the children helped decide what items they wanted to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. They started discussing how they wanted to decorate their bedrooms. This week, I allowed them to pull their toys out of boxes and choose where to put them in their new bedrooms. Assure kids that their contributions, however small, will be valued and greatly appreciated. Compliment them as much as possible.
Expect children's behavior to regress:
All change is stressful. Even good change is stressful. When children experience change it is completely normal for their behavior to regress. So, if the school-aged child gave up his stuffed animal to sleep with over the year, expect him to need it during and after the move. If the child stopped wetting the bed a few months ago, understand she might not make it to the potty each night. Understand that regression is normal and don't make fun of the child. For example, simply change and launder the wet bedding and move on with your day.
Have you ever worked for a family as they moved into a new house?