Moving with Kids: Tips and Tricks for Easy Moving
Despite the excitement that comes with relocating and the prospect of new beginnings, moving a house can be an outright headache. Throw children into the mix, and it can easily take its toll on you.
Moving with kids – whether you’re moving with a newborn, toddler, or teenager – brings with it an additional set of challenges you have to deal with. Fortunately, children tend to be resilient and can adapt fairly easily, although you don’t want to make the mistake of assuming anything.
It’s imperative that you take the time to prepare your children for the move because the thing with kids is that they are literally leaving their entire lives behind.
The friend factor is particularly a big deal, as are their regular routines and familiarity of their current environment – the neighborhood, their school, and of course, the house which they’ve probably called Home their entire lifetime.
How to Talk to Your Kids about Moving
When relocating, your thoughts will likely be preoccupied with pressing matters like how to close on your current house (or rental matters if that’s the route you’re taking), finding a new home, packing for the move, and getting your stuff to the new place in one piece.
However, if you’re moving with kids, it’s important that you take the time to talk to them about the upcoming transition as much as they may not have much say in the decision to relocate. The whole point is to sell them the idea as this will make life easier for everyone involved. If you’re moving with a baby, of course, this won’t be necessary. But it’s a different ballgame particularly when it comes to teens.
If you’re wondering how to tell a child they are moving, don’t wait until the last minute to break the news to them.
Rather, update them on the upcoming move ideally months in advance after the decision to move has been made. It’s important to allow them sufficient time to process this news as you can bet there will be some grumbling – unless there’s a lot they don’t like about the current neck of the woods.
Inform them of the timeline and if the new house is not too far off, take them with you so that they have a good feel of what to expect. Another way to make children upbeat about the move is to get them invested in the process by involving them in the nitty-gritty. Agree on tasks they can help out with, whether that be packing, cleaning, or anything else they want to volunteer for.
The same advice applies when you’re moving with toddlers. Talk to them about the move in advance in a way that they understand. Mention all the nice things they can look forward to in the new community, and if it’s within close proximity, drive them to the new neighborhood.
Moving with children can be tricky, but assure them that the family structure and their routine will not change. Let them know that you’ll be taking their favorite items with you – toys, blankets, pets, and so on. As much as you’re moving with toddlers, avoid “going through the motions” when discussing the move with them. Make sure they understand without overwhelming them with too much detail.
Lastly, save for the occasion when you’re moving with a baby, make sure your child doesn’t feel helpless in the situation. Even in the case of toddlers, consider assigning them some light chores so they don’t feel left out of the process. For instance, you could have them pack their toys as you supervise.
This way, relocation with children doesn’t have to be the nightmare it can potentially turn out to be.
Best Tips for Moving with Kids
When moving with kids, there are some tips you can borrow to ensure things go swimmingly.
- Make a moving plan in advance.
A moving plan is the basis of every move. As basic as it may seem, the moving plan is what actually determines how well your move will pan out or how stressful it might end up being.
The secret to creating a successful moving checklist when moving with children is to do it early and to make it as detailed as possible. You can start with a detailed 3-month moving plan which you should then break down on a per-week basis, right down to the tasks that will be completed on Moving Day.
Here is a sample six-week moving checklist to get you started.
- Create to-do lists for each family member.
Getting everyone on board is a win for everyone. Assign the lighter duties to the younger ones or have them volunteer on the duties they want to take on.
If they’re in their late teens, you can have them pack their own rooms, but make sure you’re on the same page as to what is expected, whether it’s on how the items are packed or when the packing should begin and be done by.
That’s assuming, of course, that you are not outsourcing the packing duties to your moving company.
- Start packing in advance.
Speaking of packing, if you decide that you’re going to DIY this aspect of your move, it’s advisable to start as early as possible, and by early we mean weeks ahead of time.
First, start by sourcing all the moving supplies you’ll need, then pack according to your plan. A good way to approach the packing is to do it on a per-room basis, starting with the areas and/or items not used frequently such as any seasonal items in your closet.
Kitchenware can wait until the last week, although items not used on a regular basis can go into the boxes even weeks in advance. However, you want to leave the toys until last week as you don’t want those little rascals driving you crazy.
All boxes should be clearly labeled.
- Do not disrupt the child’s normal daily schedule.
The stress of relocation gets even to children. One way to ensure it doesn’t take its toll on them when moving with children is to ensure their regular schedule isn’t turned upside-down during the moving process.
When moving with toddlers and younger children, in particular, you should make sure familiar routines remain throughout the moving process, as challenging as that might prove during this time – bedtime drills, mealtime routines, and Sunday morning tradition; just to cite some examples.
- Pack your bags while the kids are out of the house.
Sometimes it can prove a nightmare to get anything done when the kids are around, especially the packing. The last thing you want when you’re working on a schedule is to have the kids getting into things they shouldn’t after spending hours doing all the work.
For this reason, it might be better to do your packing when kids are either out of the house or at night when they’re sleeping.
- Consider a babysitter.
If you’re moving with a newborn or dealing with children not in school, a babysitter can come in handy.
This allows you to get some meaningful work done (read packing) without the kids being all up in your business.
- Contain kids in one part of the house.
This works best with children above the age of four as the younger ones cannot sit alone for long unless they have someone babysitting them.
Secluding the kids in one of the rooms inside the house allows you to make strides with your packing without needless interruptions. We also recommend doing the same on the actual moving day so that they don’t get in the way of the moving crew.
- Create Moving Day activities for children.
Moving Day can be pretty chaotic and it’s difficult to give your kids attention with all that’s going on around you. If you have a sitter, they can help keep the children occupied as the movers go about their business.
Otherwise, find some fun activities to keep the little ones engrossed. As well, plan for scheduled stops en route to the destination, especially if it’s a long-distance move so as to give the kids a breather.
Before moving out of the old house, consider walking your child from room to room to allow both of you time to say your goodbyes. This is a form of closure that will do you a world of good.
- Pack your kids’ things last.
Especially the toys and other play items that keep the children occupied. Unless you’re moving with a baby, you don’t want to make the mistake of packing up everything as this is inviting trouble.
With nothing to do, what you’ll have are bored kids on your hands and you know how that’s like to turn out.
While you’re at it, you should pack an overnight bag for everyone with all the essentials you’ll need. It offers convenience so you won’t have to rummage through boxes both on transit and when you arrive at the new pad.
- Unpack your kids’ things first.
When you get to your new home, it’s normal that you could be tempted to unpack essentials like kitchenware or boxes of clothing first. However, consider starting with the kids’ favorite items – toys, coloring books, dolls, story books, and so on.
This not only gives them that sense of familiarity and security, but it also means your little ones have something to keep them occupied as you work.
- Throw away as much junk as you can while the kids are away.
When moving – whether you’re moving with kids or not – it is best practice to go through your belongings and embark on a ruthless purge. Anything old, unnecessary, rarely used, or surplus to requirements needs to go. That’s clutter.
Your kids might have an emotional attachment to some of these things, which is why it makes sense to get rid of it when they’re not around. Just not anything that’s extra special to them as they might never forgive you for it.
- Keep a positive mindset.
Being positive is not what you might feel like doing right now with all the mixed feelings you may be going through; never mind the stress and frustration that might come with the move.
However, it’s super important to strive to maintain a positive mindset when moving with kids so that they don’t view the move from the old home as a loss, which is bound to make it hard to let go. Children pick up on these energies, and while they may fail to see any silver linings associated with the move, empathize with them but assure them there’s plenty to be optimistic about.
- Offer kids as much information as you can.
Maintaining a positive attitude is not about sugarcoating things and ignoring the reality that your child is going through. Take the time to listen to them and address their concerns (sans the baby talk).
Involve them in the process as much as you can and if they are old enough, solicit their input on some aspects. The idea is to give them a sense of control over their new environment so they can feel secure and adapt more easily.
Moving with children at whatever age may not be easy, but there are certainly things you can do to make the transition smoother for everyone.
These tips are a nice starting point, the idea being to eliminate the uncertainty that comes with moving house (which can be a big deal when it comes to child relocation), as well as giving them a sense of ownership of the process so they don’t feel sidetracked.