Moving has its own set of challenges, but it can be double stressful when you have kids in tow. Even with all the craziness that moving presents, you still have to ensure that kids are well taken care of, especially on the move day. Depending on age and other special factors, each kid may have different needs that must be met even when relocating. This article presents some tips on how to make moving with kids a less stressful affair.
Communicate Early Enough
You may have made a decision that you are going to move a year ago. As the days draw closer, it is important to gather your family around and communicate your intentions and the reasons for relocating. This should be done as early as two to three months before the move. Early communication about a move will allow your kids to prepare themselves psychologically. It can also help them to embrace the idea and to be comfortable enough to plug into the moving plans.
Moving is generally a long and tedious process. Besides keeping up with the logistics, you are going to be dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil from kids who may be thinking about – losing friends, changing schools, and even a change of environment. How about balancing the chaos by maintaining a routine when you can? Kids love routines. Make bedtimes, meal times, and play dates consistent. If your family has a game night or eat-out day, let this remain untouched. While keeping a routine on the move day, may be impossible, try to keep them entertained, and resume the routine as soon as you’re settled into your new home.
Get them Involved
One way of making children feel valued is through engagement. Involve the kids in planning the move whenever possible. What you get them to do entirely depends on their age and maturity. The older kids can help you pack some boxes. While the younger kids may not be able to pack up, they can be able to make some decisions. For example, let them decide what toys they want to keep or donate.
Get the older children involved by taking them on a tour of the house you hope to buy or rent out. Go ahead and let them share their opinion. If you are going to have a yard sale, the older kids can also help in setting it up. Encourage them by letting them save some of the money that comes from what they sell.
Make an Early Visit
Moving can give your kids some jitters. As you think of all the opportunities the move may present, they may be wondering what is there in store for them. To make them feel at ease, arrange for a tour of the new city. You could visit some of the city attractions such as parks or sites, before making a stop at the new house. While some schools may not allow an early visit, a drive by their new school may just cheer them up. Making an early visit helps in reducing the anxiety that the children may have.
Help Them Say Goodbye
It can be hurting watching your kids abruptly say goodbye to the kids that they’ve grown up with. They may be neighbors, schoolmates, or even extended family members. To make goodbyes more personalized and special for them, let them organize a farewell party where they can officially say goodbye to their friends and family. You can also help them create a photo album where they immortalize their memories of the old house or even their friends. Let them get creative and come up with unique ways to say their goodbyes.
Create a Safe Space
Move day can get crazy for the parents and the kids may simply be forgotten in the process. To make your kids feel safe and comfortable, create a safe space where they can enjoy their favorite shows, books, or toys as you run around with the movers.
Ensure that the space is safe from any falling objects or anything that may make them stumble. It could be a playroom or even a spare bedroom. After relocating to your new house, ensure that you create a safe space immediately as well. Set down their beds early or hang up the TV in an area where they’ll feel comfortable and safe. For the younger ones, a safe space could also be an item such as a toy or blanket.
Pack Some Snacks and Drinks
If you haven’t arranged for play dates or babysitting services on the day of the move, it is essential that you remember to pack up some food and drinks for the journey. Stick to familiar foods that will help them feel safe and comfortable. Keep them hydrated by offering them their favorite drinks.
Remain Patient and Positive
Moving with kids requires patience. The kids may get on your nerves at some point, especially on the move day. This is a big change for the entire family. When the kids throw a tantrum, be patient and let it pass. They may just be trying to share their own frustrations. Be there to listen to their concerns and assure them that you are all in this together.
Decorate the New Home Together
Even after unpacking, a new house may feel empty, and especially if you downsize. To make it feel like home again, involve your kids with decorating. Let them hang up their treasures from the old home. It could be photographs, wall hangings, or even artwork. If you plan on buying new decorative items, let them help you in choosing what will make them feel more comfortable in their new space.
It takes time to feel comfortable again in a new environment. The feelings of sadness or loneliness may linger longer with your kids. These tips will help your kids make a stress-free transition. Do not be too hard on them when do not immediately gel in with the new neighbors or when they make a wrong turn to the supermarket. Instead, be there for them and assure them that they have your support. Moving with kids can be tough, but with proper planning and preparation, it may turn out to be a surprisingly wonderful experience.