15 Tips To Make Moving With Kids Easier
Whether they are 3 or 16, moving can be a difficult concept for kids to understand and accept. The key to making the transition better for everyone is giving the needs and emotions of kids some extra planning and consideration. From first telling kids about the move to settling into your new space, here are 15 tips to make the whole process smoother.
Breaking the News
1) Tell kids about the move as much in advance as possible.
The more time kids have to process a move, work through their concerns and get used to the idea, the easier the move will be. One way to share the news is to have a family meeting, order your favourite take-out and let them know you are moving.
2) Encourage everyone to share their feelings about the move.
Kids are probably scared about leaving friends and worried about making new friends and starting at new schools. Let them express these concerns freely and plan ways together to address them (reminding kids they can still have playdates or facetime with friends and arranging to check out the new school before beginning classes). Let them know you have to make new friends and/or start a new job and it’s scary for you too.
3) Use books to explain moving.
Books are a great way to explain a move to children and make them more comfortable with the concept and what to expect. When we moved just before my daughter turned 4, we used The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day and Todd Parr’s The Goodbye Book. Both helped her understand the moving process. For more moving books for kids aged 1-12, check out this list by The Spruce.
4) Explain that all their “stuff” is coming with them.
Make sure kids understand their toys and bed and everything else is going to the new house. The space is changing, but not what and who is in it.
5) Avoid making other big changes.
Processing a move is enough for kids to deal with. It’s not a good time to begin potty training or to move from the crib to a bed.
6) If possible, bring the kids to the new house and neighbourhood before moving in.
Let kids see the new house, their new rooms, where the park and school are, where an ice cream shop is etc. Hopefully this will get them excited about the move.
Packing and Moving Day
7) Involve kids in the move process.
Having a sense of control over the move helps a lot of kids feel better. Let them pick out the paint colour for their new room, decorate the outside of moving boxes for their bedroom or pack a special bag with their favourite things (stuffie, a night light, some books, favourite toys etc.). Keep this bag or box with you on moving day to unpack quickly at the new house. And ask the moving company if they do anything special for kids. Some have kits with activities to keep kids busy during a move.
8) Let kids say “goodbye” to the old house.
Let kids go room to room to say goodbye if they want. It provides a sense of closure and is another way to involve them in the process.
9) If possible, arrange to have someone watch young children on move day.
This provides a fun distraction to kids on move day and allows you to focus on the move.
10) Plan a few “surprises” for moving day.
If you can, have a new toy or two to give your child on moving day and/or plan to have dinner at a favourite restaurant. Hopefully, this will create some positive memories for them of moving day.
At The New House
11) Unpack and set up kids rooms first.
Going to sleep in a new house for the first time can be scary for kids. Being in their bed, surrounded by familiar things instead of boxes can make the first few nights easier.
12) Kitchen and play room should be next.
When the kids have somewhere to play you can get more done. And of course, kids need to eat!
13) As much as possible, stick to normal schdules and routines.
This may seem impossible during a move, but maintaining any part of old routines will help. Things like family dinners at the regular time (maybe it’s takeout for the first few nights), normal bedtime routines or keeping your Friday night game night going (you could all probably use a break from unpacking anyway!) will make a difference.
14) Plan a fun family activity as soon as possible after the move.
I know you are busy unpacking and getting settled, but doing something fun as a family shortly after the move is a great way to check-in and see how everyone is doing. Involving kids in choosing what to do is another way to give them some control. If they are struggling with the move it will givem them something positive to look forward to.
15) Lastly, cut yourself and your kids some slack.
Moving is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. There will be meltdowns and tough moments (for you and your kids!). And that is normal. After they happen, don’t beat yourself up. Just re-set and move one.
Moving is never easy, especially for kids. But these 15 tips that give a little extra planning and consideration to their needs and emotions will make moving with kids easier. Let me know in the comments below any tips you have that help kids during a move. For 20 more tips on how to make your move and the first night in your new home smoother click here and here for tips to hire reliable movers. And if you liked this post, please share it!