Moving can be an incredibly stressful time in your life, whether you’re moving across the country or moving across the street and doing all of this with young children, can be even more stressful. As a father of 3 little ones (newborn included), I understand how much work is involved on a normal day, and throwing a relocation into the mix, seems impossible, right? Rest assured, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you didn’t know already, children are tough, and they can also be incredibly adaptable. As a parent, take the time to prepare your kids for what to expect, listen to their concerns, and help them to see the move as an adventure, the chances are good that they’ll come through it with flying colours. I’m hoping to lend you some helpful information about how to handle moves when you have little kids, both from a logistical standpoint and from an emotional one. If you’re looking for ways to make your move go smoothly, take my advice and keep on reading.
TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT
Depending on their age, young children might not have a good understanding of what the term “moving” really means. It will be extremely beneficial for you to explain to them exactly what will happen, and take the time to read some age-appropriate books about moving together. Set the tone and embrace a new adventure together – thinking this way is equally as helpful for the parent as it is for the child. Sure, it may be a lot of work but moving is a path to new beginnings and new stories.
Let the kids help you pack, after all I’m sure you’d appreciate some more help. Of course, if they’re old enough to, let your children help you pack some of their things. Consider having your kids sort their toys and help wrap objects in tissue paper or bubble wrap. If you think you’ll be putting some things into storage, ask them what they would like to keep on hand and what they don’t mind parting with for a while.
If you’re planning a long-distance move, and haven’t already considered it – have a goodbye party. It will be mutually beneficial to give your kids (and yourself) the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends and to the people who matter to them most. We all know that children love a celebration, so why not turn your move into a positive, exciting experience? Sure, you may laugh at the thought of planning a party in this already-stressful time, but you’ll be glad that you did, if time permits of course.
THE CARE PACKAGE
Depending on the distance, make sure you pack a special bag of their favourite toys and activities. Have them pick out a small backpack or duffel bag that will stay with them throughout the entire move. Let your kids choose what they want to add to it, including special items like dolls, books, or blankets, as well as the other toys that they can play with on the car trip or plane ride.
Ensure that you pack one box of toys last. You’ll want to keep your kids busy as long as you can while you’re packing things up and planning the logistics. Let’s face it, your children are going to need things to do right up until the very minute you move out of your home. Please don’t make the mistake of packing all the toys up first because you’ll be left with bored children who just might drive you a little crazier.
Keep extra clothes handy at all times because kids are messy. You’ll want to make sure that you keep lots of extra clothes at hand during your move, because you never know when they’ll be needed. Children may act out or get extra excited as they may be out of their routine, things might get out of whack so it’s best to be prepared for the unknown!
Once you’ve arrived at the new place, you might not be settled in the slightest but, try and do what you can to maintain familiar routines. Of course, some things will have to change but try to maintain the aspects of your life that are most important to your kids. Stick to the familiar bedtime routines and continue your weekend traditions of pizza on Friday nights or pancakes on Saturday morning. Stick to the familiar, even if you’re in a new place.
Even though your mind will be running a mile a minute, try your best to make a big deal about all the exciting new things you and your children can do. After all, a new home means new friends and new opportunities. Get out and explore all the cool new attractions that you can visit if you’re in a new city, or take advantage of all the neat things your new home has to offer that your old home didn’t.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Don’t rush the unpacking. If you immediately start pulling everything out of boxes, you’ll have piles of stuff everywhere, and the clutter will create unnecessary stress for everyone in the house. Take your time and unpack what you need slowly and gradually. Need some advice for this too? Check out my 6 Tips to Unpacking Your New Home After a Move.
Make your new house feel like home. Take your time unpacking, but also make it a priority to hang or display some of your cherished and familiar personal items as soon as possible such as, family photos, awards, or even your calendars. Familiar things will help to make a new house feel like home for both you and your children, even if things are still pretty crazy.
Keep all of your moving boxes as long as possible. Once you’ve unpacked, you’ve got to keep the moving boxes for your kids. These will go a long way to help your kids warm up to the new space. Moving boxes make awesome tunnels and forts, and will keep them entertained for hours! You may also decide to store some items in the boxes after realizing certain pieces don’t actually fit the new house but you may not be able to part with just yet.
Making an easier transition for your child is crucial for their comfort and emotional stability. After all, it’s your job as a parent to keep your children the happiest they can be. With some effort and patience, your child will eventually enjoy the new house, and in no-time they will be referring to their new surroundings as “home”, and believe it or not, you will too.