Moving is never easy, especially when you have a kid or two (or three!). Whether you’re staying in the same town or you’re moving to a new area, there’s a lot to do. While there’s never an “ideal” age at which to move with kids, you can learn how to make a move easier with a few smart strategies.
Give Kids Details as Early as Possible
Deciding how you’re going to tell your kids you’re moving can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is talk to them early so they have plenty of time to get used to the idea of moving.
Even if you think they’re too young to understand, start telling them about all of the great things they can look forward to about living in their new home. Maybe they’ll get their own room for the first time or the new backyard is big enough for a swing set.
No doubt, your kids are going to want to know more. For starters, answer any questions your children have about the upcoming move, like:
- Where you’re moving
- What size house you’re moving to
- Whether they can see their friends
- Why they’re moving
Of course, to give your kids those details, you need to have them ironed out beforehand! It pays to start planning a move ASAP, especially if you are packing up for a long-distance hop across the country. For example, figure out where your kids will go to school, hire a reputable long-distance moving company, and so on. As you get your moving ducks in a row, you can tell your kids what they want to know.
Help your child understand this big change by gifting them a book about moving. This is especially helpful for toddlers and little kids, but books are a great way for little ones to get a better understanding of what moving is and what to expect. Explaining to a kid what moving means in a way that they can grasp can be challenging, so let the book help you show them what’s going on.
With so many things changing around them, it’s easy for kids to feel overwhelmed. One of the best ways to help a child feel more in control of their lives and cope with big changes is to stick as close to their schedules as you can. Their home, school, and friends may be changing, but things like their morning or bedtime routines can often stay just about the same.
Keeping with their usual schedule until moving day can help them feel a sense of normalcy when there is a lot that is changing. If you can stick close to their schedule on the days that you’re moving and traveling, that can be a big help, too.
Highlight the Exciting Things & Benefits
Most kids are nervous when they hear they’re about to move, especially if it’s their first time. You can alleviate some of their fears and turn their young minds to new and exciting things by highlighting the benefits and cool new experiences they’ll have at your destination.
Bring up photos of the new house, show them the cool parks and schools they’ll get to visit and make sure to emphasize all the wonderful reasons your family is packing up and moving in the first place.
Let Your Kids Help
Kids can get antsy and agitated if they don’t have anything to do. You can make moving easier by assigning packing jobs to your children, though. For instance, why not have your kids pack up their rooms?
Send them off to their bedrooms with a few boxes and packing tape and come back in a couple of hours to see their progress. This tip is better for older kids, but even younger kids are ready and willing to help pack things up more often than not.
Offer Packing Incentives or Prizes
On the other hand, if you have kids who refuse to help with packing without an incentive, give them one! Offer a prize, like a candy bar, for children who pack up their rooms before dinner.
Making moving a game can also do a lot to make the process seem fun and exciting. You can pretend the floor is lava, have a treasure hunt, or make it a race to see who can fill up each box first. Making mundane or boring tasks like packing into a game is a great way to get your kids involved.
Designate “Last-Day” Boxes
Odds are your kids won’t want to pack up their favorite toys too early. To avoid grumpy faces and minimize headaches all around, designate one box per child as a “last day” box.
Have your kids set those boxes aside and leave them for the last day before the move. They can put all their favorite toys or books inside at the last minute, allowing them to enjoy those favorite things in the meantime while packing everything else.
Have a Goodbye Party
Lots of kids have trouble saying goodbye to their current homes and friends. It’s always better to have closure than leave things hanging. With that in mind, host a goodbye party for you and your family.
Even if your kids don’t have friends (if they’re too young, for instance), a goodbye party gives them the chance to properly bid their old home farewell, visit their favorite spots one last time, and do anything else they feel is emotionally important.
If you have a long drive ahead of you before you get to your new home, you can make it easier on your kids by making sure they have plenty of snacks and entertainment. This is a great opportunity to give them a new coloring book or put new games on their tablet for the ride.
At the end of the day, remember that your kids are more adaptable than you think. As soon as you get your new home, they’ll settle in faster than you imagine and be right back to their old selves. Just remember to follow the above tips, and you’ll make your moving process a lot more manageable both before and during the event!