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Housing and moving


The basics

A house? A home? A residence? A dwelling? Your child might be wondering what's the difference between all these words. They all refer to the same thing: where you live. They're synonyms.

Some people will talk about their apartment. You can explain to your kids that this refers to when people occupy a part of the house or building where they live.


Watch this video with your child, which helps explain the difference between renting and owning. After, take a look at some related concepts below.


When you rent, there are 2 different roles:

  • The tenant: They're the person who lives in the home. They have to pay rent to the landlord, keep the home in good shape and obey the laws for renters. The house or building doesn't belong to them.
  • The landlord: They're the person who rents the place to live to another person. They have to make sure it's in good condition, do repairs and obey the laws for landlords. The place belongs to them and the tenants pay them rent.

A tenant pays every month to live there, over a year or maybe more, but they don't own their home. One day, depending of the contract that binds them to the landlord, they might decide to leave and go live somewhere else. But some people live there for the rest of their lives!

When a person wants to rent a place to live, they sign a contract, which is called a lease. The lease describes what's included in the rent and sets out some rules, including the obligations of the tenant and the landlord. This helps avoid problems later. For example, the landlord might not allow pets, unless it's an animal that the tenant absolutely needs, like a guide dog.

There are also laws that both the landlord and the tenant have to follow, and promises they have to keep. If there are other tenants in the building, both the tenant and the landlord have to be respectful and not behave in a way that disturbs them.

Did you just move, or are you planning to? Talk about it with your child!


Moving is a big change in your child's life. They need time to prepare, and you can support them with the right attitude. For more tips, see this article about Children and moving. It covers:



Is it possible to save money when you move?


Here are a few ideas that can help you cut costs. That said, sometimes things change, and you might find that you can't do what you were planning to. Don't be too hard on yourself!


Before the move:

  • Choose a less busy time to move (September to May, a weekday, not on a holiday).
  • Compare the prices of movers.
  • Check reviews for your movers. You don't want your things broken (or any other surprises).
  • Check your insurance.
  • Plan out what needs to be done well in advance.
  • Make a budget for your move with all the things you'll need to buy.
  • Try to keep your moving expenses down.
  • Make sure you know about all the hook-up charges for your new home.
  • Sell the things you don't want anymore online.
  • Have a yard sale.
  • Pack your own boxes.
  • Use reusable bins or boxes you can get for free from stores or people you know.
  • Wrap your delicate items in tea towels or paper towels instead of bubble wrap, for example. 


During the move:

  • Get help from people you know.
  • Leave moving the larger pieces of furniture to the movers.
  • Plan out your first trip to the grocery store.
  • Use some of the furniture and decor that's already there (you can give them a bit of love).
  • Check online to buy used things in good condition rather than new things.
  • Avoid impulse buying.
  • Take some time to live in your new home before you buy things to decorate. This will help you see what you really need to make the most of your new space.


We highly recommend involving your child in all these steps. By helping out, they'll feel useful and less anxious. They can learn about responsibility and become more independent. It can also be something for them to do when you're busy with other tasks.

Moving opens the door to all kinds of practical learning experiences. Your child can learn important values (responsibility, hard work and teamwork), as well as some real-world skills (planning, making choices, budgeting, saving, reusing things).