While a moving process is stressful enough as it is, moving with kids makes it a lot more challenging. That is, unless you approach the matter wisely and start to prepare for the event months before the moving day.
Listed below are important tips that will help you have a seamless moving experience with children.
The key to a stress-free moving with children is the right organization of the process.
With small kids, it will be wise to do the packing while they are asleep or away. Otherwise, they will want to unpack what you have just packed, and it will be a lot harder for you to concentrate on your task (and is does require a lot of concentration). If you must pack with your kids around, give them a spare box and a few toys, so they could act out packing and feel involved in the process.
One more reason to pack without your children around is that there is bound to be a lot of their stuff you will get rid of. There is no need for your kids to know that some of their belongings are not moving to the new house with them. As you well know, even the things they have lost interest in a long time ago, will suddenly become ‘favorite’ once your kids find out that you plan to give them away/sell/throw away.
Moving is the time when a relative or a babysitter may prove to be very helpful. Make sure to arrange for a babysitter on the moving day itself — this is when help like this is most welcome. If you could not find a babysitter, make use of a pack ‘n play or baby gates making sure your kids are safe in there.
For older children, it will be wise to have some moving day activities on-hand such as new books or magazines, tablet games, coloring books, etc.
Prepare ‘first night bags’ with essentials for the children — a separate bag for each to make it easier to find what you need. Include diapers, wipes, favorite toys, pacifiers, medications, bottles, water, formula, snacks, clothes, and other essentials.
Pack the rest of the children’s and other family members’ belongings separately from each other and use color-coded duct tape to seal the boxes (a different color for each family member).
Take Care of the Formalities
Some of the most important papers you will need to pack when you move with school-aged kids are their school records. Photocopies will not do for your child’s permanent record at the new school — you will have to present the original documents. These will most likely include your child’s birth certificate, medical records and evidence of vaccination, the most recent report card with all the end-term scores, and standardized test results. You can also include letters of reference from teachers, a list of textbooks your kid was using before transferring, and information about your child’s extracurricular activities, such as athletics, dance, drama, music, photography, etc.
Request your child’s documentation from the old school at least 4 weeks in advance of the moving day so that the school can have enough time to put together all the necessary papers.
Help Your Children Adjust
Oftentimes, parents get too busy packing and solving lots of move-related issues and forget how traumatizing moving can be for their children.
While infants and toddlers are not much affected by the relocation, older children who have already developed a network of their own friendships and contacts tend to suffer much more.
The first thing you need to do when you made the decision to move is have an open conversation about it with your children.
Tell them about the reasons you are moving. Be honest. Don’t wave away their fears — it is only natural for your older kids to feel intimidated by being transferred into a new environment. After all, aren’t we all a bit scared by a prospect like this? Tell your children that you understand them because you will have to make new friends, too, and probably find a new job. Suggest that you should all support each other and share your ideas on how to better embrace your new life. Let that be a bonding experience for your family!
That said, focus on the bright side of the event. Try to make your children see the move as an exciting adventure.
Here are a few ways to do it.
- Discover the upsides of your new neighborhood. Plan some fun things to do in your new area once you have moved.
- Read positive books, watch films and animations about moving.
- Share your own moving experience highlighting the bright sides of it.
- Tell your children that even though you will live in a new place, they will still be able to stay in touch with their friends. Encourage your child to make a ‘memory book’ of your old home with pictures, handwritten wishes from their friends, a list of mailing addresses, e-mails and phone numbers of their contacts.
- Host a farewell party. To give your children the sense of closure, say goodbye to every room in the old house before you embark on your trip to the new home.
- Discuss how you will decorate your kids’ new room. Let them choose things like the color of the walls, some pieces of furniture, etc.
- Find out about clubs or groups your child can join in the new neighborhood.
- Once you have moved, unpack your children’s things first to make them feel at home as soon as possible.
- Meet your new neighbors and find out if they have children the same age as yours. Having new playmates will be very helpful when you try to immerse your kids into their new life.
On a final note, we believe that moving with kids can be stress-free (okay, less stressful) and fun if you use the right approach. Just keep in mind that you should allocate twice as much time for the preparation than when you move on your own. Good luck with your endeavor!