Moving from your family home to a different house or apartment can be very stressful for everyone involved, kids especially. While adults understand everything that’s going on, kids don’t yet have the ability to focus on the positive changes and make the best of the move. Therefore, moving with children requires some extra care to make it as stress-free as possible. If you need some tips, here’s how you can organize a smooth and fun move with kids.
Talk about it
You and your spouse or partner will talk about the move, and kids will most certainly pick up on it. If you keep the move a secret, their little minds will wander and make things much worse than they actually are. Older kids need to know about the move well in advance, but smaller kids don’t have the same understanding of time and knowing things too early might boost their anxiety. However, once there’s a visible sign that the move is happening, it’s time to have the talk (when you start packing boxes or putting up the house for sale).
Check out the new house
Before the move, try to visit your new house (if it’s relatively close) or spend some time on Google and view the house on Street View. You can also check out the fun things to do in the neighborhood to create good first impressions. Have a fun day exploring the area and show them their new room on the house listing. Kids often have a hard time imagining what their new home will look like which can increase stress and anxiety.
Give kids some control
Even the smallest kids can help with the move—this will give them some sense of control and make the entire experience more fun. The move is the perfect time to get rid of clutter, but don’t force anything. Give your kids a few boxes, some for things they want to keep and some for things they want to donate. If you booked a trailer hire, removing some clutter will be a great thing for everyone since it will shorten your packing time and allow you to make fewer trips. You can also allow kids to place their boxes in the trailer which might reassure them that their things are going with them to a new home. Give kids some crayons and other art supplies to decorate their toy boxes and keep busy while you’re handling the rest of the move.
Pack a survival box
There are a few things you can’t do without during your move. You need to pack a survival box with drinks and snacks, plates and utensils for mealtime, bathroom basics (toilet paper, soap, toothbrushes), change of clothes and some handy things like tools, matches, pencils, scissors and trash bags. Also, make sure to keep all your documents with you in the car or truck to avoid stressful situations.
Hire a sitter on moving day
You might be the most organized person in the world, but moving day is very stressful and full of distractions. Therefore, it’s best to live kids with someone who can pay them full attention, handle their emotional outbursts and keep stress at a minimum.
Take time to be sad
It’s totally healthy for kids to be sad when they need to leave their home behind. This emotional reaction will make the adjustment much easier, so make sure to nurture it. In order to say goodbye, you can visit all their friends, take photos, exchange addresses and have one last playdate. Remember to say goodbye to all your fave spots in the area. Once you move, you can make a Moving Book with all the photos, descriptions and words about what they love about every place and friend they left behind.
Handle things once you arrive
After you move, the stress is still not behind you. To provide your kids with a smooth transition, start by unpacking their rooms first. Start unpacking as soon as you arrive to provide the kids with a safe place where they can spend time, relax and rest. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the house is chaotic, as long as they have their rooms sorted out and can go to sleep surrounded by familiar things. Also, try your best to maintain your regular schedule when it comes to meals, school stuff and bedtime to give the kids a sense of normality and familiarity. If you’re still concerned about your kids’ adjustment, you can book a session with a therapist who will provide great advice.
Some tantrums, tears and worry are all normal when it comes to moving with kids. Make sure to be there to listen to your kids’ concerns and do your best to find solutions together. Sometimes, they just need to express their feelings to move on. However, these tips above will certainly allow you to have a less stressful move that’s completely kid-friendly.