5 Tips for Moving With Kids
Children like structure, routine, and familiarity, all of which are disrupted the minute they are given the “we’re moving” talk.
Your kids may have reacted with either excitement or outright tears when you informed them of the changes to come. Whatever their feelings are about the situation, there are ways to make moving with kids easier on your entire family.
1. Prepare Them
Unless your child is an infant, you’re going to have to discuss the upcoming move with your kids.
Pick a good time to bring up the subject, and discuss it in an age-appropriate manner. Give your child your reasons for moving and invite them to share their opinions. Even if you are unable to resolve all of their frustrations, it’s important for kids to feel heard and understood.
Keep the conversation upbeat and focus on the positives of moving, but don’t dismiss their worries or disappointments. In fact, your kids may benefit from knowing you have the same concerns about moving that they do, so share your own anxieties and how you plan to overcome them.
If possible, visit the new house and neighborhood before moving day so your kids know what to expect. Drive them around the neighborhood and the city to find some local parks, a community pool, or a local ice cream shop that they will look forward to visiting in the future. And even though they probably won’t look forward to their new school, go visit it anyway. They’ll be more comfortable on their first day if they have some idea of where they are.
If you’re making a long distance move and an in-person visit isn’t possible, show your children pictures, videos, or a layout of the new house to give them some idea of what their new living situation will be like. Make comments like, “your bookcase could go on that wall” or “where do you think your bed will go?” Picturing their familiar belongings in an unfamiliar space may help your kids warm up to a new house.
Lastly, introduce your kids to the moving company crew that will be tramping through their house and carrying their toys in and out. Many kids will feel more comfortable with the idea that the guy in charge of their stuff isn’t a stranger.
2. Involve Them
The decision to move was likely out of your kids’ control, so it helps to involve them as much as you can in other ways.
After you’ve informed them about the move, take your kids on the house hunt and ask for their input. It’s more likely your kids will be on board with the move if they’re familiar with the house and felt like they had a say in the decision.
Once you’ve picked a house, let them help out with decorating their new room. Some kids may not want anything different from the old house, but others might jump at the chance for a fresh coat of paint or a different furniture arrangement. Even if you don’t have extra money for remodeling projects, this can be a good time to repaint old furniture or spring for a new rug.
3. Packing With Kids
Kids who are feeling anxiety about moving will likely put off packing as long as possible and may become irritated if you even bring up the subject. But even kids who are looking forward to the new adventure may not take well to having their toys and belongings packed away.
That’s why it’s important to approach packing your kids’ rooms with a little bit of fun.
Have your kids select a few of their favorite, can’t-live-without items. For older kids, this may mean a handheld gaming device or a laptop. Younger kids may prefer a special blankie, stuffed animal, or action figure. On moving day, these items will go in each child’s backpack so they’ll be accessible while the rest of the house is still in boxes. Everything else gets packed away.
Let your children help with the packing by making a game out of it or letting them decorate “their” boxes with stickers and markers. (Your kids will feel reassured when they can spot their box coming off the truck at the new house.)
Make moving day fun to keep everyone’s spirits up. Maybe a morning doughnut run or a pizza lunch will buoy your family’s mood. Maybe camping out in the living room of the new house with board games or movies (watched on your tablet, of course) sounds more like your style.
Moving homes is a major change in routine, but taking the opportunity for some special treats will make the upheaval seem a little less stressful.
4. Get Them Settled
When moving with kids, make sure that their rooms and belongings are the last things packed and the first things unpacked. Minimizing the time spent without their favorite things will help curb your kids’ tantrums and restlessness. (It’s likely that you can deal a little better with living out of boxes for a little while.)
If your kids have not been looking forward to moving, it may be helpful if their new room’s setup is similar to their old room. Other kids may jump at the chance to create a whole new look. Get their opinions on where furniture and artwork should go or (if they’re old enough) let them loose to do it themselves.
After you’ve all gotten settled in to the new place, consider signing your children up for a local dance class or sports team to help them meet friends in the new neighborhood.
5. Maintain Contact With Old Friends
Last, but not least, try to maintain some contact with friends and family in your old neighborhood.
Whether you moved across town or across the country, there are plenty of ways to stay in touch. Your kids can write letters or send e-mails to their friends or make a Skype call to those they miss the most. If you live within a few hours of your old address, you may even want to plan a housewarming party (or sleepover) for old and new friends alike.
We hope these tips help your next move go a little more smoothly. Cento Family Moving & Storage loves to help move families into their dream homes, and we look forward to helping you!
Visit these other resources for additional information on moving with kids.