Moving is a big life event that has a different impact on everyone. For kids, it can be an unsettling experience that disrupts what they know and changes their daily lives in a big way.
As a parent, you’ll have plenty of things on your plate during a move, but your kids getting upset about it can add a whole other layer of stress to the process. Instead of brushing off their fears, there are some easy ways to ease their anxiety and actually get them excited about the prospect of a new home.
Here are 7 tips for moving with kids that will ease the stress for everyone involved:
How to Keep Kids Stress-Free During a Move
When you’ve made the decision to move, call a family meeting and bring them up to speed on what’s going on at least a month before the move. They will need time to process the big change, so let them know what will be changing and just as importantly, what will be staying the same.
To help with the transition, get them excited about all the positive things at the new place. Take them on a tour of the new house and their new bedrooms, and let them start picking our paint colors and décor. If you’re moving to a new town, take a day to explore it. Focus on all they have to look forward to after the move.
Keep a Routine
It’s important to keep up as much of a routine during the moving process as possible. Kids have a harder time adapting to big changes in their daily life, especially when you start packing up the house and their entire environment begins to change. Keep dinner at the same time every day, stick to family game night or other family traditions, and give them breaks from the stress of the move. It will be good for you, too.
Purge Before Packing
Have your kids stress help you get rid of anything they no longer want or need before you start packing. Make a game of it. Let them know that whatever they get rid of will make room for new things. This is a great way to get them excited about it, especially if you hold a garage sale where they can get money for their old stuff to go shopping for their new room.
Pack Snacks & Activities
On moving day, pack a cooler of snacks and drinks so you and your kids won’t get hungry. Also, be sure to have plenty of activities on hand for them, since most of the time they’ll be left to their own devices and could get very bored while the adults take care of everything. Bring things like games, a portable DVD player, or tablets so they will have something to keep them occupied.
If you can’t get daycare or a playdate for them with their friends on moving day, consider setting up a room in the new house for them with some entertainment so they can get settled. Hook up the TV and DVD player with some movies to watch (if you don’t want to unpack them, consider renting something from Redbox) or games to play or set up an art station. Keeping them busy will give keep your hands free to focus on the move.
Get Them Involved
Once everything is moved into the new house, get the kids stress involved in the unpacking process. Again, make a game of it. Perhaps whoever gets their rooms unpacked first will receive a special prize or get to pick out the restaurant that night. Assign them tasks, like folding the packing paper and breaking down the boxes. Not only will the unpacking process go quicker, but your kids will be less focused on the upheaval of moving and more focused on the excitement of the experience.
Make It Feel Like Home
It can take time to settle into your new home, so make your kids feel more comfortable by unpacking certain creature comforts right away, like their favorite blankets, toys, and necessities. Keep them in boxes marked “first day” so they will be easy to access document collaboration software. Having these things around will ease some of the stress of the move and help with the transition.