UPHEAVAL / how to move house without ruining your kid’s life


So, we moved house 3 weeks ago. Not just house, but jobs, schools, cities, AND EVERYTHING ELSE. Quite the change.

I worked at my last job for 11 years, lived in the same city for nearly 15 years, married my wife there, had our 3 kids there and thoroughly, thoroughly loved it.

So when new adventures came calling, leaving everything we knew was a big wrench for us all. Not least of all our 6 year old son.

When we gathered them all together to tell them we were moving they were all super excited.. Until our eldest asked if he would still be going to the same school. Oh no. Our hearts sank as we delivered the soul-crushing news.

Our boys’ elation turned to wailing and gnashing of teeth as our first-born started sobbing. Sons 2 & 3 sensed the mood and did their best impression of a suitably morose response.

Things started to look up somewhat when he wrote about both how much he would miss his school friends and yet wanted to see how big our new garden would be..

We tried to be honest with the kids throughout about OUR mixed emotions in all the upheaval. We wanted the boys to feel able to express whatever they were feeling rather than enforcing some false positivity.

This seemed to work at first but as our 6 year old went through the 7 stages of grief, we lingered in ‘anger’ a little longer than we’d hoped.

Time with the grandparents gave us all much-needed respite from one another. And that seemed to hit the reset button on intense feelings and challenging behaviour (on all sides). Phew.

Building on that success, a visit with all the kids to our new town and new house went miraculously well, contrary to all our expectations. And checking out the local park / cafe helped to emotionally ground the kids in some of the things which are important in their world.

Thankfully our eldest got into our first choice of school and on his own initiative he wrote a letter to his new classmates introducing himself. Our hearts swelled.

It certainly helped his readjustment that the new school has a swimming pool.

There were still the expected tears and no shortage of tantrums (guilty) but we did it. We moved. We even remembered all the children.

It’s early days yet. But so far, I’m willing to bet at least £5 that we’ve not caused any lasting trauma to the kids (at least by moving).

Here’s to the next chapter!

By Si Cook