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Practical Tips for Moving with Young Children 
08-10-2021 | Armbruster

Practical Tips for Moving with Young Children 

Kids pick up on everything! Even the youngest children can tell when something is afoot in their environment. So, if you have an upcoming move, and you have young children, they’ll know something is up. You need a game plan to ensure a successful move.

Keep Routines Consistent 

It is easy to let your routines slip away when you’re in the middle of a move. Cut yourself some slack –not everything in your house is going to run the way it normally does. That’s okay. But don’t let everything slide. Do keep some of the basics in place. It will go a long way towards keeping everyone relatively sane. The routines that are important to one family may not matter so much to another. Bath time may be sacred in your house, so try to make sure that happens nightly – even if you have to feed your kids peanut butter sandwiches for dinner three nights in a row. Or, dinnertime may be the most calming, centering routine for your family, so try to stick with that as often as possible.  Having a predictable routine is reassuring for kids. Which leads into our next tip… 

Post a Schedule

Think back for a minute. When you trotted your younger self to school, what did every teacher have posted at the front of the room? A daily schedule. First came attendance, then reading and math - all the way to dismissal.  Take a tip from teachers and post a schedule at home.  Why does this help?
  • Kids like to know what’s coming. Being able to picture their day ahead is reassuring, especially when there is predictability in their schedule. Remember, kids like routines.
  • You’ll have less arguments. There is something magical about putting something in writing for kids. If mom or dad says to do something, there may be some pushback. If the schedule says it’s time to do something, well, there you go, it’s time to do it! It sounds weird, but it’s true. 
  • You won’t have to answer the same questions over and over again. Kids remember more of what they see than what they hear – we all do – so they won’t forget as easily when exactly something is happening. When they ask you about what’s happening next in their day, walk over to the schedule with them. They’ll learn they don’t need to come to you when they want an answer. You’ll have a few minutes to yourself.
For young kids who aren’t reading yet, add pictures to the schedule. Photos or graphic icons will help them use the schedule as well as older kids. You can even post a moving schedule if you think your kids would benefit from seeing it all in black and white.

Have Fun with Moving Boxes

Well, you’ll probably be too busy packing. But your kids can have fun! How many times have you bought your kids something you thought they’d love, and they played with the box?  Set aside a couple of large boxes that you’re willing to sacrifice. Kids can keep themselves entertained for hours with a big box. They love crawling in and out. They love bringing their toys in and setting up shop for a while. They’ll bring their dolls and plush animals in to pretend they’re all on a pirate ship. The possibilities are endless. The box may get battered, but that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay for keeping your kids occupied while you attack your very long to-do list Playing with moving boxes isn’t only about fun for kids. It’s emotional, too. It allows them to interact with something that may be a little frightening for them. Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Those boxes represent a big change that’s coming their way. Allowing kids to put their mark – literally – on the boxes can help them process their fears. It can also invite them into the whole moving process itself. 

Have Your Kids Help with Packing

You want your kids to feel a part of the move. You want to check off a few things from your moving list. Solution? Get your kids involved in the packing. Give them age-appropriate tasks that they can do successfully. What can kids do, that won’t make more work for you in the end? 
  • Label boxes. Labeling boxes on multiple sides will save you tons of time when you unpack. Have your kids label all four sides of your boxes. Younger kids can attach pre-printed labels. 
  • Use the hand vac. You are going to have more cleaning to do than normal. As you dig into corners that haven’t seen the light of day in a few years, dust and debris are going to find their way out of their hiding places. Never fear! Even a preschooler can manage a hand vacuum. 
  • Take out the trash. You’ll have a lot more trash than normal. This is an easy task for most kids school-aged and up to do. One less trip for mom or dad!
  • Sort through their own stuff. Give them two boxes; one for trash and one for donating. Have them sort their things in sections so it’s not overwhelming. Sort clothes on one day, books on another and so on, etc. Move their donations and trash out their rooms. Leave the stuff they’re keeping as is until right before the move. 

Pack Kids’ Rooms Last

A child’s room – or part of a room – is usually a place that feels safe and comforting. Keep that space intact as long as you can before the move.  It may be tempting to get at least some of your kids’ stuff packed ahead of time. Instead, write a detailed list of supplies you’ll need to pack their rooms and what needs to get packed. Before you pack anything on that list, do other moving-related tasks. Leave yourself with little to do on moving day, and you can pack your kids’ rooms at the last minute. You arrive at your new home. Guess what gets unpacked first? The kids’ stuff. Except for other essentials (a change of clothes, medications, snacks), the kids’ stuff gets unpacked first. Why? Most importantly, seeing things they are familiar with will give kids a sense of constancy and can reduce anxiety. Also, it gives kids a safe place to be so they are not underfoot of other moving activities.

Pack a Bag for Moving Day

A couple of weeks ahead of your move, set aside a moving day bag for each family member. The adults will have things like paperwork and medications in theirs. Some things to have in kids’ bags:
    • Favorite toys and stuffed animals
    • A cozy blanket
    • Juice box or water bottle (you know they’ll be thirsty as soon as you walk out the door)
    • Snacks 
  • A change of clothes
  • Activity or coloring books and crayons or markers
You and your kids will be glad for their moving day bags while you’re in transit.   Want to spend more time with your kids and less on moving? We can help! Look at our residential services or schedule a virtual survey with us today!  
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