For whatever reason you may be moving, it sure is going to be a hectic and stressful process. Add a couple of kids to the mix and you’re quite possibly looking at a maddening experience – if you are completely unprepared, that is. While we can’t promise you a total stress-free move, we can help you with a detailed guide to help you prepare for the mammoth of a challenge that awaits you. Plan it well and you won’t have too many bumps on the road to moving with kids.
So here are things you should consider to make moving with kids comfortable for you and them both.
- Planning the Move with Your Kids
- Packing and Moving with Your Kids
- Making the Place Home
Planning The Move With Your Kids
Normally, it’s a good practice to start planning your move at least eight weeks before D-Day. But if you’re moving with kids, make sure that you start even before! There’s a lot of stuff, both technical and personal, that needs to be sorted before moving out.
Informing Your Kids
Of course, this doesn’t apply to infants and toddlers. But if you have kids who are older than that, you need to inform them about moving out as early as possible. They probably know something’s up when they see all the packing and wrapping. Informing them would give them time to prepare themselves about it. And you need to prepare to answer a lot of questions!
Elementary school kids typically take the idea of a move with ease. But you still have to be patient with them and give them exact details about where you’re moving. Be sure to focus on the positive aspects of the move – perhaps it’s a bigger house and/or has a bigger yard, or the new school has more and fun activities they can engage in.
However, you’re likely to have trouble with teens. They may have a fun social circle or a relationship and moving out means starting all over. A good idea would be to consider their opinions on where to move. This would make them feel more included and in control of the process of moving out.
Visiting Your New House And Neighborhood
You should definitely pay a visit to your new house, and neighborhood if you’re moving long distances, with your kids. This would allow both of you to experience the vibe of the place. Also, show your kids around the new house and explain how you plan to set it up. Ask them for their opinions on it too and try your best to incorporate them when you move in.
Explore your neighborhood with your kids and look out for what fun things there are for them to engage in. Interact with your new neighbors and if they have kids the same age as your kids, they’ve probably already got new friends!
Once they get to know that the new place isn’t bad after all, moving with kids can be much smoother.
Researching New Schools
When you’re moving with kids, you also need to keep in mind their education. Your kids may not need to change schools if you’re moving a short distance, but for long distance moving, this needs to be done.
Again, it’s best if you discuss this with your kids. Ask them about the kind of schools they’d like to be in and what they’re worried about. Then you can look at the schools in your new place and consider which would be the best for your kids. What’s even better is that you pay a visit to the new school with your kids so that both of you get a feel for the place.
You must meet with the principal of the new school to get a better idea of how the institution helps new students adjust to the new environment. Befriend people who have children the same age as yours so that your kids have new friends before starting school.
If you think that your kids should get to socialize immediately after the move, consider a mid-year move. On the other hand, if you believe that your kids’ school year shouldn’t be interrupted, move during the summer holidays.
Collecting The Important Documents
Moving out also involves a lot of paperwork. And if you’re moving with kids, you’ll end up needing to collect and carry even more paperwork. Here are the most important documents you’ll need to collect before moving:
- School Transcripts: These are records of your children’s education which will be required at the school you plan to enroll your kids in. Collect them from the old school well before the date of moving.
- Medical Records: Be it from the school or the pediatrician, remember to collect medical documents including vision and dental records.
Packing And Moving With Your Kids
Now that you’ve informed your kids about moving out, it’s time to get packing! But with kids around, you need to be a little more prepared:
When To Start Packing
The rule of thumb with regard to moving out is that you need to start preparing much before the day of moving. So you’d think that it’s best to start packing as early as possible. While there’s no denying that doing so would help you avoid any last-minute chaos, if you have infants or toddlers, you want to hold off from packing until the last moment. Babies are more likely to be stressed out with all the stuff moved around and packed. Also, packing everything too soon might mean that you won’t have baby supplies easily available.
With older kids, however, you can start planning and packing early. Below is how you can get it done in the most hassle-free way possible.
If you don’t want to be bothered by the hassle of packing with kids in tow, hire professional packers and movers who’ll do the job for you.r
Sticking To A Routine
Try sticking to the routine that you had before the packing process. This particularly helps if your kids are young and require attention. A sudden change in lifestyle would affect them, so try to stick with your regular family schedules like mealtimes and playtimes with kids. This would help the kids to have a feeling or normalcy and would thus keep them calm.
Also with the packing, create a plan that molds around your routine. If your kids are old enough and willing to help, explain what needs to be done by whom. This would greatly help reduce the chaos of moving out.
Keeping The Kids Away
This is possibly the safest way of packing if you have kids. In the chaos of packing stuff, you don’t want your kid running about. There’s a considerably higher chance of them injuring themselves or breaking something expensive. So the best idea is to drop your kids off at your neighbor’s or the babysitter while you pack in peace.
Alternatively, you can coincide your packing time with your kids’ nap times. This is also a good opportunity to pack away some of your kids’ toys, especially if they’re young. They might not even play with some of them but if they see you packing them, expect a huge uproar! But don’t pack their favorite toys just yet so that they have something to play with.
Asking For Their Help
This has two advantages: you’ll get quite a lot of work done and the kids can be a lot more involved as well. The teenagers should be able to help you with most of the heavy lifting, but the young ones can do the easier and safer tasks – packing up light, soft and unbreakable things. You can also get them to label the packing boxes with different colors. This helps to get everything well-organized and also becomes a fun task for the kids.
If your kids seem very uninterested to help, a good way would be to incentivize them for packing stuff well enough. It could be extra pocket money, pizza for dinner or a new video game. Having a friendly competition between siblings for packing can also get a lot of your work done.
If you’re getting the kids to help, remember to keep aside anything that could injure them.
Selling Kids’ Stuff And Organizing A Yard Sale
You may think that they’re both the same thing, but no it’s not! Your kids must have hoarded tons of toys and stuff that they no longer care about or play with. But they can’t and won’t entertain the idea of giving them away. When they’re at school or at the babysitter’s or sleeping, sell or give away things that your kids no longer need. They won’t even notice what’s missing!
On the other hand, older kids would be more open to the idea of giving away some of their old stuff and things lying around the house that’s no longer needed. Let them organize a yard sale and keep a portion of the earnings for a job well done! Also, less clutter to carry means a safer and cheaper move. It’s a win-win!
Saying Your Goodbyes
It’s a good idea to host a farewell party on one of the days before the move, especially if you’re moving long distance. Not just for your kids, the prospect of moving out and starting over can be overwhelming for you too. This party can help you and your kids cherish all the fond memories with the house. Along with your neighbors and friends, don’t forget to invite your kids’ friends and take a lot of pictures! This is the one time all of you can say your goodbyes and to settle any differences, if any.
Your kids may want to bring memories of the old house with them. So it’s a good idea to make a scrapbook with many photographs. Also, get some things from the old house which may comfort your kids in the new house. While you have to be even more gentle with your kids during this time, don’t be dishonest with them.
The packing and planning’s all done. And before long, the D-Day has come! If you’re moving a long distance, we’d recommend that you hire professional packers and movers who’ll load up your belongings in the truck and also set up your new house.
While you can leave the packing to the professionals, make sure that you keep a separate bag with all the baby essentials if you have an infant. The same goes for older kids and get them to pack all their favorite stuff in one bag to carry with them in your car. It’ll be a disaster if you decide to travel unprepared.
Make sure that you carry enough snacks for your kids. Buying them new toys or video games would work wonders at keeping them distracted and entertained throughout the car trip. It’s stressful enough without the kids bawling and asking if you’re there yet every 20 minutes or so!
Making The Place Home
At long last, you’ve finally reached your new house. But that’s only half the battle won! As much as for yourself, your kids need to get used to this new place. It’ll probably take them a year for that, and you need to be patient. Here’s how you can make it easier on them:
Setting Up The Kids’ Rooms And Maintaining Routines
Change can be frightening to younger kids. So it’s best that you set up their rooms before working on anything else in the house. Try to set up the rooms as similar as the old ones (with the same furniture, too) so that it brings a sense of familiarity and safety.
In addition to this, stick to the same routine that you followed in your old house to ease your kids into life in the new house. Also, take a couple of days off work so that you can spend time with your kids.
Making New Friends And Socializing
This is very important if your kids are to become more comfortable in this new environment. Organize some playdates with kids from your kids’ new school or if there are day camps, send your kids so that they can make some friends before school starts. Be actively involved in your kids’ school activities and speak with their teachers as well.
Like the going-away party mentioned above, you can also organize a party in your new house and invite your neighbors and your kids’ new classmates. But at the same time, don’t force your kids into interactions if they don’t feel like it. Patience is key here.
Moving out means starting over and making new friends, but tell your kids that that doesn’t mean they have to cut off ties with their old friends. Let them talk on video calls and social media.
Giving Them Time
This is by far the most important to remember if you’re moving with kids. Moving out can be pretty traumatic for them. This would mean that they’re likely to act out and be very homesick (for them, the new house isn’t home yet). When they do act out, try to be patient and accommodating to them. However, don’t give false hopes that you’d be returning to the old house if your move is permanent. It’s okay if your kids take their time.
Seek a pediatrician in the new place and don’t hesitate to seek the help of a child psychologist if the move has affected your kids considerably.
Moving with kids can be quite challenging and getting them to get used to the new house even more so. However, if you’re meticulous in your planning and have some parenting hacks up your sleeve, you can get your kids to feel happy and safe in their new home.