Have You Ever Worked for a Family as They Moved?

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?

Comments

  1. No I've never had a family move into a new house-while I was their nanny- However, I have been there for many re-models. I can't even imagine how stressful an entire move would be.Keep up the good work-but don't over-do it- you are their nanny- not their mover! Just think how great it will be this time next month- when everything falls into place. Enjoy the new house!~Andrea- Nanny- Northern, NJ

  2. I think this advice is great for any nanny @ anytime. We work ourselves to the bone. Your mental health + kids happiness is much more important than all other issues we face working as nannies.

  3. It's your own fault if you don't have a contract detailing your job responsibilities. It is ok to say you are not a housekeeper, chef, mover etc. You can't unpack their house by yourself. I think the advice is appropriate for divorce also.

  4. it was really excellent post! I always love to read your blog post! hope to get update via feed. & I always tweet your latest post 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing this advice. I am happy to find this article because I needed this advice yesterday when I was exhausted from my job. It is easy to forget the kids are always #1 when there are so many other concerns around a house. Sometimes we have to lower our standards. It's ok to let the other stuff go when moving. You are right, the kids health and happiness is all that matters. The parents have to understand that.

  6. I have moved with charges a few times from things the house being put on the market, to living in temp housing, and getting settled. My bosses and I actually took turns with the house and kids. Which I didn't mind as it allowed me to have a say for how I wanted some spaces set up (like kid's bedrooms, bathrooms, playroom, and kitchen. ) The moves have been for good reasons and not so good ones, still there is a lot of anxiety, closure, stress, and new beginnings. Depending if something traumatic happened (death, seperation, and divorce) there are those wounds that can re-emerge too.I don't get caught up on what my job is or isn't. My job is to support the family, to help the kids (and they are sometimes carrying in things and unpacking too.)

  7. Thanks for this advice….the family I work for are about to relocate for a period of upto 8 months (HUGE renovation going on at the house, and it's easier to move than live around mess), this family have 5 chn 9G6, twin B3.5 and twin G15months) so it's going to be stressful. School holidays start for us at the end of this week, so for the next 2 weeks of school hols my focus is on keeping as much routine as possible for the chn while the parents pack. We have a heap of day trips arranged so will be exciting for the chn….I just hope the move goes well, I sadly finish this position early Dec so won't be around for much longer.I am encouraging the older 3 children to pack a special box of toys they want to take, and that seems to be working quite well atm

  8. It is like starting a new job even though you are caring for the same kids. The worst is dealing with the contractors. I hope to never have to work with a family that moves again.

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