A move is already a somewhat stressful life event. The stakes are often high, with finances, timing, and the unknown hanging in the balance. If you have younger kids, however, you can expect to double that stress during your move. The needs of your children can make prepping for your move more difficult, but they also have needs during this transition that often get pushed to the background, sometimes making them feel like another item to be packed. Being in the business of helping people pack up and move, we at Marrins Moving see a lot of families struggle with making this process a smooth one, so we’ve got some tips to make this time go a little smoother for all involved.
Reducing Moving Stress for You and Your Kids
When moving with children, know that this is a stressful time for them as well. Even young children understand that some sort of change is happening, which can cause anxiety. At the same time, you’re trying to stick to their schedules, your schedule, pack the boxes, arrange the details, live in chaos, etc. until the big day. It’s difficult to get it all done and still be sensitive to your child’s experience as well. With a few adjustments to the plan, though, here are a few ways it can go a lot easier and minimize the anxiety for you both.
Talk to them. Let your kids know why you’re moving, where you’re going, and when you’re leaving. Maybe have a countdown calendar where they can mark the days off, and check in regularly to ask how they’re feeling as moving day gets closer. Let them know what to expect as far as what they’re leaving behind and what they have to look forward to. Show them pictures of the new house, and visit the home and area with them if you’re able.
Arrange a babysitter on moving day. This one is for your sanity. If possible, try to have them out of the house when the actual move happens, either by getting a babysitter or having them stay with a friend or family member for the day, but make sure they know if they’re not coming back to the house.
Try to stick to routines. The familiarity of a routine will help your child have something steady to focus on in the midst of changes. You may want to skip bedtime stories or family game night or Taco Tuesday to give yourself an extra hour of packing time, but those rituals may make all the difference in your kids’ anxiety levels.
Let them get involved. In the interest of time, you may be tempted to throw all your kids’ stuff in boxes yourself. Letting them be a part of packing their belongings not only makes them feel a stabilizing sense of control, but also keeps them occupied so you can focus on other things. Consider labeling boxes with words like “toys” or “shoes” and having them pack themselves where possible. Draw different colored circles on the boxes if they’re too young to read. You may also want to have them pack their own “comfort bag” filled with a few things that want to easily access at any point in the process.
Pack their rooms last. If you can help it, hold off on packing your kids’ thing last. This will help them feel settled for as long as possible, reducing their stress and yours. In addition to that, moving is a time when some parents want to change out their children’s bedroom furniture, opting for an upgrade that better suits their age. Depending on your child’s personality type, it could be a better idea to wait until your kid is settled in the new house before making more big changes.
Have them plan a “See You Soon” party. If you’re not moving too far away, let them plan a gathering you’ll make good on down the road in the new house. Let your kid make the guest list, think about the food you should serve, and what activities should happen. This will keep them occupied and will give them something positive to look forward to and associate the new home with.
Check back frequently for more moving tips like these from the team at Marrins Moving.