Moving on its own can be stressful. Moving with kids adds a whole new dimension to every aspect of the moving process, but that doesn’t mean it has to add stress! We have several tips to help you have a successful move when you have kids.
1. Get Them Involved
Depending on how old your kids are, you can give them some jobs or responsibilities so they can both lighten your load and stay productive. Kids can pack their own toys, books, and clothes (perhaps with some help), they can help sort through their belongings and decide what to get rid of, and they can help you pack other areas of the house, too! They’ll feel important and you’ll get some assistance. Moving and packing tasks kids can help with include:
- Holding down box flaps while you tape them up
- Sorting toys and books into “keep” and “donate” piles
- Packing their clothes
- Packing non-fragile items together with you
- Making lists
2. Enlist Childcare Help
There’s no shame in asking for help. Help can look like arranging playdates for your kids out of the house, asking grandparents to babysit, or hiring actual babysitters. Sometimes, you just need your kids to be elsewhere so you can get things done. Whatever method works for you is the right one!
3. Make a Plan
Kids often love to do important things with adults and they may get over-eager and start throwing things willy-nilly into boxes in an attempt to “help.” If you are including them in the packing process (and maybe even if you’re not), have a family meeting and go over some ground rules for packing. Consider packing a team sport and give everyone a specific job. Go over your methods for packing in an organized way. Visuals are important for kids, your movers, and for you! Whether you use color-coded stickers or even picture labels, make sure everyone knows which boxes are for which category of things.
4. Schedule Eating Times
This is a great thing to do even without kids involved because even adults need a break to eat! It’s easy to get so caught up in moving activities and forget to have lunch or dinner. Make sure you stop and eat proper meals so that everyone has the energy and patience to keep going with packing up your home (or unpacking!). You can make the meals exciting like getting your kids’ favorite takeout food or special treats they don’t normally get, so that they remember this intense period as something positive and fun.
5. Take Breaks
You may not want to take a break from packing, organizing, or moving, but it’s important that your kids do. They need time to run around outside or sit in a corner with a book or some Legos. Keep some of their favorite toys for last when you pack so they don’t get bored, and make sure those toys are easily accessible when you get to your new home.
6. Let Kids Pack Their Own Personal Bag
Just like when you go on an airplane and you get to bring a personal bag with you, your kids should have a knapsack or small suitcase where they can pack anything important to them that they want access to at all times. This can include a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, lovey, book, toy, or even some paper and crayons.
7. Never Run Out of Snacks
Snacks. They are hugely important when kids are around. (Okay, let’s face it. They’re important for adults, too.) During packing, during your trip to your new home, and during unpacking, you always want snacks at hand, including a water bottle for each person. Hungry kids can lead to tantruming kids, and you definitely want to avoid that! (And hungry adults can lead to hangry adults–definitely not a good place to be during a move!)
8. Get as Concrete as Possible About Your New Home
For the move itself, you want your new home to be as concrete as possible for your kids before you even get there. Whether you show your kids pictures of the new house with pictures of each of their new rooms or you take them to actually visit so they can see for themselves, make sure they have a clear visual of where they will be moving to before you go. It can also be a great idea to visit your new town and walk around, checking out the local eateries, library, and playgrounds. Introduce yourselves to any other families you come across there, especially ones whose kids seem a similar age to your own. Take your kids on a tour of their new school. This way, when moving day comes, your kids won’t feel like they are moving somewhere completely unfamiliar.
9. Make a Plan for Staying in Touch
Your kids may be worried about leaving their friends. If you live near family, this can be even harder. Make sure your kids understand that saying goodbye just means “goodbye for now.” Make plans for visits and set up video chatting schedules so that your kids know exactly when they are next speaking to or seeing the people they are leaving behind.
10. Make the First Night Special
You will likely be overwhelmed your first night in your new home. There will still be a lot of unpacking to do, your home will barely be set up, and you’ll all be exhausted. Still, it’s even more intimidating for your kids to be in a new place. Have something fun planned for that first night, whether it’s a night out at the local bowling place followed by delicious takeout, camping in the living room, roasting marshmallows on the burner, or something else. The first night in a new home is a special one, even if it’s just a “movie night in the new family room” situation.
No matter how big your family, the professionals at Big John’s Moving are here to help you have a smooth moving experience. If you are moving with kids, you may even want us to pack for you! No matter what kind of packing or moving help you need, we’re here to make things easier so you can focus on your family!