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Is your family moving in the near future? If you are moving with kids, your to-do list is probably a mile long! With packing, cleaning, buying/selling, and organizing, among other things, added on top of your daily workload of regular household duties, outside work commitments, schedules, and activities, it can become a huge stressor.
Most parents have to deal with all of the financial and logistical aspects of moving, but kids see and feel the physical and emotional effects of changing living spaces. For some kids, the home they are leaving may be the only one they have ever known.
They see all of their stuff being put into boxes. They feel the busyness and stressed. They see a new house that doesn’t feel like the home they are used to being in.
It can be a very exciting and fun experience, while also affecting their mental health. Here are the best tips for moving with kids easily.
As soon as you know it’s happening, talk about it! Talk about where you are going, when it is happening, and why you are moving. Giving kids this information to process and accept will help the transition go more smoothly. It gives them the chance to be sad, nervous, excited, anxious and/or happy before everything becomes busy and stressful.
Once you know where you’re going, learn all about your new area and talk about it with the kids. Drive around or let them see photos of places around town.
Look up things to do specific to your new area, places to go, or restaurants to try. Help them find fun new experiences near the new home with the Gowhee App.
Another way to prepare your kids in a positive way is to talk about all the fun aspects of moving, like choosing new paint colors or furniture.
If a child feels overwhelmed by the moving day approaching, it may be because they are passive in the decisions leading up to it. Organize a family meeting and distribute the jobs to all, emphasizing that this is a family project. It will help them feel needed, trusted, and involved in the moving process.
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The biggest tip about making the moving experience smooth with younger kids is to make sure they understand their stuff (their toys, bed, books, clothes, etc.) will be coming with them.That they WILL see it and have it again.
Let them choose one stuffed animal, toy, or blanket, along with a few activity items and snacks, to pack in a small backpack to take with them. Give them the responsibility of packing and being in charge of their backpack.
Just because they know their stuff will be coming with them doesn’t mean they have to keep it all or need all of it to come with them! Moving is the perfect time to declutter, organize, minimalize, and throw out items throughout the house that you no longer need.
Encourage your child to donate clothes they’ve outgrown or toys they no longer play with that are still in good condition. This helps teach and practice charity, while decluttering. A win, win!
To prevent being overwhelmed by it all, move through the house little by little when packing. I like to start with the closets, then move to the cupboards, then move on to the drawers, etc. This method helps me stay on task and keeps me from feeling like my entire house is out in the open all at once.
Same thing goes for cleaning right at the end before the final move out. Clean room by room. Once a room is emptied and cleaned, the door is shut and nothing goes in it anymore.
By the end, I will usually have some unboxed things, cleaning supplies, or miscellaneous items in the middle of the main living room to grab before walking out for the last time. This way I don’t have to waste time and energy cleaning spaces again.
Rather than using just cardboard boxes that can break and be hard for kids to manage, use Rubbermaid containers. They hold up more items, are forgiving of a more messy packing style kids are known for, and can be stacked.
It allows kids to be in charge of their own packing without the stress of breakage.
School-age kids and older children will be concerned about how much this move will impact their social lives.
It will help a child cope with the changes if plans are made ahead of time to meet and gather. For instance, organizing a house warming party with their close friends in the new house. If the move is across states, you could organize a meet up half way over the summer.
When first arriving to the new house, everything will feel like chaos. Boxes will be everywhere and the ambiance might exacerbate fear and disappointment.
This helps them get a feel for their new surroundings, keep them busy and engaged by letting them settled first.
It will also help them transition in their first night sleeping in their new room if they know all of their stuff is in its place.
Once the kids have their space set up, parents will have more time to settle their space with peace.
To make the move exciting and a little more fun, have one last hurrah in the old house! Let everyone sleep in the family room together, have a picnic on the floor, or throw a going-away party with friends and neighbors.
Talk about all of the memories you have made as a family in that house. Have the kids say “good-bye” to their room. Talk about how you are closing a chapter in your lives, but an exciting new adventure is about to begin.
Moving is not always easy. There is a lot of stress and nothing ever seems to go quite to plan, but remember that it is fleeting and temporary. On the other side of it is a new chapter and more wonderful memories to be made with your family. Best of luck to those who are moving!
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