Ah, moving. That word alone is terrifying, much like a surprise visit from the in-laws. Toss in “with kids” to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a delightful cocktail of potential stressors, served with a side of “Are we there yet?”
But let’s face it, moving is a big deal for everyone involved, especially for the tiny humans who depend on you for guidance and support.
This blog will guide you through the treacherous terrain of moving with kids. You’ll learn how to prepare for the relocation and navigate the chaos of the moving day itself. Included, too, are tips to help your kids settle into their new home and neighborhood. So, grab your cold brew, and let’s embark on an adventure of lessons.
Does Moving Homes Affect a Child?
MacArthur Foundation reports that moving homes can significantly impact a child’s social-emotional well-being. That’s more prominent in kids in the early and middle stages of development. The consequences of relocating may result in temporary declines in academic performance among middle and early adolescents. As a result, it’s essential to provide additional support at home and in school during this transition period.
How to Prepare for Moving with Kids
1. Allow plenty of time to prepare for the relocation
Time is your best friend when relocating with children. Creating a timeline accounting for all necessary tasks, such as researching schools, packing, and organizing send-off parties. Be prepared for the occasional mood swings — we’re all human, right?
2. Discuss the move with your kids early on
Open communication is essential when moving with kids. Discuss the move with your children, addressing their concerns and fears as soon as possible.
While you want to be honest and empathetic, focus more on the positive aspects of the relocation. For example, highlight the exciting new opportunities and adventures awaiting them.
3. Involve your kids in the planning process
Giving your little ones a sense of control over relocation and their new space will make them more likely to feel excited and optimistic about the changes. This could include letting them pack their belongings and make a moving checklist together. You can even turn this into a game by seeing who can pack their belongings the fastest or who can create the most creative packing labels. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work.
4. Organize and declutter
Sort your items and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. Pack items in labeled boxes and create an inventory list to keep track of everything. This may seem daunting but think of it as an opportunity to rediscover long-lost treasures and relish memories. Plus, who doesn’t love a good purge? Out with the prehistoric, in with the new.
5. Prepare a moving essentials bag for each child
Prepare a moving essentials bag for each child to make moving with kids as stress-free as possible. Include their favorite toys, books, and snacks to keep them entertained and content during the move.
Clothes, toiletries, and necessary medications or medical supplies will also suffice. You never know when a superhero action figure or a beloved stuffed animal can save the day and turn a frown upside down.
Considerations During the Move
6. Assign age-appropriate tasks when moving with kids
This pointer on moving with kids doesn’t just help keep your little ones occupied. It also makes them feel a sense of accomplishment and ownership in the moving process. But again, take into account their limitations when assigning tasks.
- For younger children (ages 3-6), tasks could include sorting their toys, placing stuffed animals in a designated box, or packing a bag of their favorite items.
- Older children (ages 7-12) can help pack their clothes, label boxes, or assist with organizing items in the new home.
- Teenagers can take on more significant responsibilities, such as disassembling furniture, loading and unloading boxes, or even helping with the logistics of the move.
Heavy objects should be securely packed. In addition, keep the kids informed of potential hazards, including tripping over boxes or getting injured while lifting heavy items.
7. Take breaks
Moving can be physically and emotionally taxing, so we recommend scheduling extra time for rest and snacks. Children may need more frequent breaks than adults, so mind their needs and adjust the schedule/route accordingly. Let’s also not forget that children can quickly pick up on stress or negativity. Therefore, it’s up to you to remain upbeat and optimistic throughout.
8. Communicate with your kids
When moving with kids, regularly check in to see how they feel and address any concerns or fears. Encourage open and honest conversations, and be prepared to offer reassurance and support as needed. By actively listening and empathizing with your children, you can help ease their anxiety and make the transition to a new home smoother.
Helping Kids Settle in After the Move
9. Unpack and set up their rooms first
Prioritizing your child’s room helps create a familiar and comfortable space for them to retreat to during the initial adjustment period. Let them feel more in control and invested in their new surrounding by involving their child in arranging their furniture or decorating their room. Take this as a parent-kid bonding opportunity as you collaborate to create a space that reflects your child’s personality and interests.
10. Maintain routines and rituals
Routines and rituals communicate that while the physical location of your home may have changed, the values and practices that define your family remain constant. So, maintain consistency in bedtimes, mealtimes, and other daily activities.
11. Explore the new neighborhood together
Another essential aspect of helping your child acclimate is exploring the new neighborhood together. This can involve:
- Visiting local parks and community centers
- Introducing yourselves to your neighbors
- Making new friends
Such activities create a sense of belonging, helping them feel more at ease in their new environment. Furthermore, exploring the neighborhood together allows you to share the excitement of discovering new places and experiences as a family, fostering a positive attitude toward the move.
12. Help them adjust to their new school
Before the first day, arrange a tour of your kid’s new school and introduce them to their teachers. This can help alleviate their anxiety about navigating a new environment.
You also want to encourage your little one to join clubs, sports teams, or other extracurricular activities. That should help them make friends and feel more connected to their new school community.
Throughout the transition, offer support and reassurance by listening to their concerns and validating their feelings.
Relocating with Children Can Be a Breeze
And there you have them! Essential tips for moving with kids without the stress. Follow them to save your sanity and make the transition smoother for your little ones. After all, a happy child means a happy parent, right?