Tips for Moving With Young Children

moving-with-kids1We are a family company and that means we have firsthand knowledge of moving with young children! Here are some of my best tips to make your move go more smoothly!

  1. Prepare kids for what to expect. Young children might not have a good understanding of what the term “moving” really means. Explain to them exactly what will happen, and take the time to read some age-appropriate books about moving together. My personal fav is the Berenstain Bear’s Moving Day.
  2. Let the kids help you pack.If they’re old enough, let your children help you pack some of their personal belongings. Even at a young age, kids can sort their toys and help you wrap objects in tissue paper or bubble wrap. If you’ll be putting some things into storage, ask them what they would like to keep and what they don’t mind parting with for a while. Let them decorate a box for the last items to pack, and first items to unpack. Keep it with your child to help them understand that everything, not just them or this one box is making the trip to the new home. Visual reassurances can go a long way for young folks!
  3. Don’t rush yourself.It’s hard to accomplish any task quickly with small children under foot. Give yourself lots of time to plan and execute your move.
  4. Take kids’ concerns seriously.Feelings are feelings and it is natural to be stressed during a move. Even toddlers can verbalize at least some of what they’re feeling, and older children will probably have lots of questions and concerns. Always treat kids’ feelings wth respect, even when you can’t accomodate their requests.
  5. Time your move.Sometimes, circumstances dictate when you have to move. But, if you have a choice, try to time your move so that it occurs at a relatively calm period in your child’s life. Between school years or avoiding big change years should be taken into consideration when possible.
  6. Pull out the pull-ups.If you’ll be traveling by car or plane with a recently potty-trained toddler or pre-schooler, think about putting them in a pull-up for the duration of your trip. A little regression is a common issue due to the stress of moving. Be patient.
  7. Pack a special bag of treasures.I like to have this bag in the box that stays with your child for the entire move. Keep busy bags and comfort items just make sense for this transition. One treasure trick that helped me on a long distance move was buying some new toys a second hand store. I’d pass a new toy every day of the trip so the novelty of it can give me extra time and never had to worry if it got lost, broken or forgotten.
  8. Pack one box of toys last.Your children are going to need things to do right up until the time you move out of your home.  Number each box and let them mark it up or stick ducktape or stickers on all their boxes. It will make them easy to identify when you unpack, and allow them to have some control over their personal items. Throwing out a bunch of stuff may seem tempting but skip it: cull when you unpack and you’ll gain some trust.  Don’t make the mistake of packing all the toys up first because you’ll be left with bored children who just might drive you crazy.
  9. Label boxes of kids’ stuff very clearly.The day will come when you find yourself digging through boxes looking for the toy that they absolutely have to play with right now. Do yourself a favor; don’t just label boxes with the word “toys.” Include as much detail about what is in the box as you can because, trust me, you won’t remember.
  10. Make it an adventure.Moving creates upheaval in your life, and wreaks havoc on your child’s normal routine anyway, so take advantage and let your kids do things you normally wouldn’t. Maybe let them stay up late or have treats you don’t normally allow. I straight bribe my kids with candy when we are moving. You do what you have to do.
  11. Keep extra clothes handy.Kids make messes. Constantly. So make sure you keep lots of extra clothes close at hand during your move, because you never know when they’ll be needed. I’ve also found it helpful to keep extra ziploc bags on hand since since you might not have access to a washing machine during your actual move.
  12. Use a cooler.At some point before you move, you will have to unplug your refrigerator and empty your pantry. This can make it difficult to feed your kids, so I’ve found a cooler to be a lifesaver.
  13. There’s a Shop on every corner.There’s so much to prepare for during a move that it’s impossible to think of everything. Chances are good that you’re going to forget something, so cut yoursef some slack. A corner store is a fast stop so it’s a good time to take the easy way: just buy more and get on with your day for common stuffs you might run out of like extra diapers, snacks, bandaids, and Rx refills.
  14. Maintain familiar routines.Once you’re in your new home, some things will have to change. But try to maintain the aspects of your life that are most important to your kids. Stick to familiar bedtime routines and eating times. Again this allows for a consistent calm in the chaos of the move.
  15. Reassure kids that you are a constant in their life.When young kids lose the security of a home they’ve always known, they can become insecure about losing other important things in their life, too. Don’t forget to reassure them that, even when homes and friends have to change, you will always be there for them.
  16. Make a big deal about all the exciting new things you can do.A new home means new friends and new opportunities. Get out and explore all the cool new attractions that you can visit if you’re in a new city, or take advantage of all the neat things your new home has to offer that your old home didn’t.
  17. Invest in postcards.Postcards are a great way to stay connected to friends and family back home. Kids will be proud to show off their new home, and even young children who can’t write yet can draw a picture to send to loved ones. Pre-address a few to make it easy to send along the way.
  18. Make it feel like home.Take your time unpacking, but also make it a priority to hang or display some of your cherished and familiar personal items as soon as possible. Familiar things will help to make a new house feel like home for both you and your children.
  19. Help them plan their room If you let them pick a new bed set, paint color or curtain, they have something to look forward to. If your child visits the home before you move in, help build the excitement by talking to them in their new space. I am big kid so I like to greet the room and show it some loves! I usually twirl or spin kids in all that open room and the giggles just bless the space.
  20. Keep the moving boxes as long as possible.Once you’ve unpacked, you’ve got to keep the moving boxes for your kids. The make awesome tunnels and forts, and will keep them entertained for hours! My favorite is a homemade gingerbread house. You simply cannot add enough frosting!