You are buying a house, and you have kids. The big question is do you bring them along for house hunting? If you do, how can you do it and maintain your sanity? Age is key on deciding to bring them. Newborns are easy, they will usually stay asleep in the car seat or carrier, and can easily be calmed down with a bottle or nursing. Teens and tweens are easy too, they'll want to come along to help make the decision about where they will be living and to make sure their needs will be met. Ages 6 months to 10 are tougher. Access your child's temperament. If they are ok with changes, lots of in and out of the car, boundaries and rules in houses, then they are probably ok to come along. If not, get a sitter until you are narrowed down to one or two houses. If they are coming along, here are some tips for keeping them busy, happy, and actually letting you see the house! Babies and Toddlers:
1. Use a carrier, not a stroller, to get through a house quickly
2. Have a hands off policy, even if that means parents' hands are off too.
3. Have a different toy to play with at each house.
4. Play Eye-Spy
5. Have coloring books and colored pencils. They are easier to color with on the floor and less likely to make permanent marks on walls. Somebody should watch all the time!
6. Play House Bingo
Elementary School Kids
7. Scavenger Hunt
8. Have them give the tour- they can go through the house quickly and then come lead everyone else through. Most kids love this.
9. Picking rooms and talking about what would go where.
10. Headphones and music for quieter kids that may want to sit in the living room or on the stairs. Music is also great for kids that may be having a hard time with the move.
Tips for Everybody, including Adults
11. Snacks! Lots of snacks!
12. See 3 houses at a time, maximum.
13. Take turns in the yard playing with the kids, use your agent for this too.
14. Finish by playing at a park.
Finally, moving is a big deal for most kids, even if they aren't going to remember it in the long haul. It's an emotional experience for people of all ages, and no matter how long you've lived in your current home.
1. Talk honestly about why you are moving.
2. Say goodbye to the old house with a letter or pictures. It can be to the new owners, to the great neighbors, or to the house itself.
3. Take photos of your kids in their rooms and around the house before you start packing or staging the home to sell. You'll all want to remember their first room or the terrible purple shade they talked you into painting it.