Moving tips are a dime a dozen on the internet, but moving with children is a whole different ball game. As adults, we understand that moving is sometimes just a part of life. Sometimes, circumstances arise which render us incapable of remaining in our current homes, and we have to uproot. For children, though, moving can be catastrophic — an eight on the Richter scale — especially if your family moves often. Though that is not intended to make you feel guilty about moving, I hope that you will take extra care to lessen the brunt of moving on your little ones. I hope these moving tips when moving with kids will help do just that.
#1 Make setting up your child’s room a priority.
Moving is stressful and chaotic for adults, and we are the ones who generally orchestrate the move. For a child — especially if they are too young to fully understand the concept the moving — moving can cause fear and anxiety.
Your child may not be fully aware of what’s going on. All they know is that all of their toys and belongings are being packed away and that they are being forced to leave their friends behind (if the move involves a school transfer as well).
Make the move easier on your child by making their room a priority. As soon as possible, unpack all of their belongings, and set up their furniture and toys in a way that will remind them of their room in the old house. This way, they will start to regain some sense of normalcy.
#2 Make an effort to reconnect with your child’s old friends.
Kids are resilient and can usually make new friends pretty quickly, but it’s important that you allow them to connect with old friends as well. If you are still within driving distance of your previous home, take the time and drive your kids to playdates with their old friends every once in a while. If that’s not possible, video calls are always an option.
You might also consider allowing your children to have a big sleepover once the new house is in order and inviting all of their old friends. Having old buddies in their new room is a surefire way to help them mark their territory. Moving with kids can be tough — especially on them — but there are some proactive steps you can take to make it easier.
#3 Check out kid-friendly places and activities in your new neighborhood.
Until your child is able to connect with students at his or her new school, understand that you’ll now have to serve double duty as parent and playmate. Sweeten your child’s moving experience by setting up some fun and exciting adventures in your new neighborhood.
Take to Google and do some research, or drive around and look for places like arcades, indoor trampoline parks, toy stores, amusement parks, libraries, or any other place that welcomes children and can help ease them into their new neighborhood.
#4 Enlist the help of family and friends.
Moving is no fun for adults, much less for children. Make the process more fun by enlisting the help of family and friends. On days when you’re moving, have trusted ones take your kids out for pizza, the park, bowling alley, or anywhere else they might enjoy. If the friend or family member is part of the community where you used to live, just let your kids hang out at their house for the day and play with old neighborhood friends.
This will free you up to get the most out of your time without constantly worrying about what your kid is up to in the next room. It will also allow your children some much-needed reprieve from the moving process.
#5 Wait until your child is asleep (or in school) to pack up their stuff.
If you have a toddler or younger child, you will agree with me that one of the best moving tips ever is to wait until your child is not around to pack up their stuff. Ever tried to fill a box with books and other belongings only to have your child dump it out a few seconds later? That is emotionally draining for both the kid and parent. To avoid such situations, wait until your little one is out of the way, and always be sure to leave a few of their favorite toys out.
#6 Don’t let your child see your Goodwill donations.
My daughter can go months without playing with a particular toy, but at the mention of my donating or giving it away, all of a sudden she becomes emotionally attached. I don’t know if your child is like my child, but I suspect most children are similar in this aspect.
Just like the previous moving tip, wait until your child is asleep or at school or someplace else to establish your donation pile (at least before adding any of their belongings to that pile). It will be less dramatic that way. Trust me.
#7 Don’t minimize your children’s concerns.
Yes, it can be annoying to tell your toddler for the umpteenth time what “moving” means, but don’t minimize their concerns. Respect the fact that they are experiencing a transition in their lives and, with it, an array of emotions. Hear them out and try to explain things as best as possible, even if you’ve already done it twenty times today.
#8 Have a going away party.
Goodbyes are always difficult, but parties are fun! Let your children invite their friends over a few days before moving for one last horrah. You never know, it might just make the moving experience a little more positive.
#9 Allow some grace for the entire family.
Though routines are great and help maintain order in a child’s life, it’s okay if your child — who usually goes to bed at eight o’clock — stays up until nine or ten for the first week or so in his or her new room. Did you order pizza three times this week? That’s okay; your children probably love you for it.
Don’t let your mind take you on a guilt trip just because you haven’t “held everything together” during your move. Relax. It will be fine. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your move. Enjoy your new home. Grab a slice a pizza, and just chill out, okay?
Darlene Mase lives in Newnan, Georgia with her husband and daughter. She is a stay-at-home mom and works as a freelance writer for Zumper.com and other popular sites. During her free time, Darlene enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, cycling, gardening, caving, kayaking, or anything else outdoors.
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