Smooth Move: 10 Tips for Moving With Kids
Some people move because they enjoy taking risks. Others want a change of scenery to change internal issues. It’s known as “pulling a geographic” in psychology circles.
When you’re married with kids, you move for a better job offer or to be closer to family.
Whatever the reason, about 11% of Americans move every year. And, even for the people who love a nomadic lifestyle, moving is stressful.
It’s stressful for teens leaving the nest for college. Downsizing after those teens leave can bring on anxiety, too.
If you have smaller children and you’re relocating, the stress is even more intense. You’re dealing with planning, prepping, and packing. But, you have to do it all with confused and sometimes scared little ones running around.
If you’re a parent and you’re about to make a move, you may be in a bit of a panic. Don’t be!
We’ve got 10 ways to make moving with kids a lot easier.
Moving with Kids 101: Prepare Them
The best thing you can do for their sanity — and yours — is to prepare them for what’s ahead. Even if you’re not 100% sure yourself, there are some things that can ease their anxiety. Here are four tips to help you with the pre-move jitters.
1. Focus on the Excitement of It All
As parents, you’re not moving your children blindly. At least one of you will visit your new town to look for housing. If you have school-age kids, you’ll learn about their new school.
This knowledge helps in more ways than one.
It allows you to focus on the excitement of moving. Explain all the new things they’ll get to see and do.
If they have an easy time making friends, tell them about all the new kids they’ll meet. Talk to them about their new school.
This will help ease your fears, too. When you’re stressed out about moving, your kids sense it and your parenting might actually suffer.
2. Let Them Express Themselves
It’s important to acknowledge your child’s fears — if they have any. Listen to what scares them the most and be a source of comfort.
Don’t brush it off and tell them everything will be fine. This isn’t helping them and it’s only suppressing their emotions. Don’t do that.
Some fears may seem irrational to you while others you’ll find valid. Hear them out and try to focus on the positives as we mentioned.
3. Familiarize Them with the New Community
If possible, take them for a pre-move visit. They’ll get to see their new community and it will help get them excited for what’s to come.
Fear of the unknown is real in kids, too!
4. Involve Them
Get them involved in prepping and packing their belongings. This is a great time for a major clean out. It will make them feel as if they’re decisions matter, which makes them more confident.
That confidence will be a huge factor when you get to your new home. It can help them make new friends and adjust to their new surroundings.
If they’re old enough, have them help out with other parts of prepping. While you may not want them helping you pack dishes, they can help with flatware or linens.
A good rule of thumb is to pack your child’s belongings last and unpack them first. This allows them to have some of their security toys or items longer and sooner.
During the Move
For most families, step 1 — the pre-move stage — is the most stressful. It’s hard to let go of things we attach memories to. But the move itself can bring its own set of anxiety.
Here are four ways to make this part of the process go smoother.
5. Hire Movers
If you’re moving from one side of town to another, you likely don’t need to hire movers. You can have friends, family, or some local college kids give you a hand.
But, if you’re moving to another town, you need to consider hiring professional movers. If it’s a long distance move, it’s a necessity.
Hiring professional movers takes a massive load of stress off of you. You’ll save time and your sanity. You won’t have to do any heavy lifting, which means you reduce your risk of getting hurt.
You can even hire movers to do the packing (and unpacking). They’ll handle the loading and unloading of the truck. This leaves you to focus on taking care of your little ones.
6. Keep Their Schedules Intact (as Much as Possible)
No one will have a normal schedule during the move. Your eating habits may also get thrown off.
If you’re moving long distance, try to find local family restaurants to eat at along your route instead of fast food. If you’re staying at hotels, keep the same bedtime — or close to it.
Everyone will have some level excitement, even if it’s nervous energy. They won’t want to sleep or possibly even eat. Keeping their sleep schedules and nutrition intact is important for your child’s health.
7. Let Them Help Unpack
The same way you let them help pack, involve them with the unpacking. Especially their things!
If you followed our tip for packing and loading their boxes last, they’ll be able to start unpacking as soon as you get to your new home. This keeps them busy and they’ll find joy in reuniting with their long-lost toys.
8. Involve Them in Some Decisions
Let them make some of the decisions when it comes to their new room. Allow them to pick out paint colors, new furniture (if applicable), how they want everything arranged, and so on.
This, again, gives them confidence that their opinions matter. A confident child is well-adjusted, competent, independent, and has good social skills. Exactly the traits you want them to have as they navigate through life!
After the Move
Just because you’ve unpacked everything and everyone’s settling into your new home doesn’t mean your work is over. There are two important things to do to keep things running smoothly.
9. Get Them Involved in the New Community
Sign them up for a class or activity at your local recreation or community center. Take them to the library for children’s story time.
Not every child is athletic, but registering them for soccer is another idea. This will make them feel a part of something and connect with other kids their age. When school starts, they’ll already have friends who have their back!
10. Stay in Touch with Old Friends
It’s important that you encourage your child to stay in touch with their old friends. They’ll be curious about what they’re up to and it gives them a chance to express their excitement about their new surroundings.
Be mindful not to push them into staying in touch, though. Let them know they can call or email them, but let them come to you when they’re ready.
They’ll miss them and may even feel sad about not having them in their lives. As long as you let them know it’s okay to reach out, they will when they’re ready.
Moving Is Stressful So Let Us Help
Moving yourself is hard enough. Moving with kids can seem impossible at times. Let us relieve some of that stress.
Whether you’re planning a local or long distance move, we can help. Get a free quote on your upcoming move. Don’t forget to ask about Alero’s price match guarantee!
If you’re moving and you have pets, check out our 10 tips for a smooth and successful transition.
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