Helpful Tips for Moving With Kids
Life with children under five can be a chaotic adventure. Moving with little ones can be a daunting task, thankfully there are many things you can do to help kids adjust to the moving process, whether it’s local moving down the street, moving to a new town or new city, or even long-distance moving out of the country.
While there are pros and cons to moving kids at any age, the transition can be easier for children five and under. This is because most of their life revolves around their family and not schools or friends.
If your little kids are talking, you may be tempted to tell them about the move early, but sometimes this can backfire. Since babies and smaller children don’t have the same sense of time as older kids, it’s best to wait until closer to the move, like when there are packing boxes around your home or a for sale sign is up, to help them avoid unnecessary anxiety.
Routine and Stability are Key
Stick to whatever routines you can to help show your children they are in a stable environment. If you always have story time at night before bed, make that a priority, even in the middle of your move. While it may be tempting to let them stay up late because it’s easier when you’re packing up or unpacking, they’ll do better if they get enough sleep and prioritize their routines. If your move is because of a family separation or divorce, try to incorporate habits that will emphasize regular practices to help kids cope, no matter whose home they are at.
Feeling stressed or upset about a change is normal and healthy for little kids and adults. Don’t try to fix the sadness.
Although you’re busy, take the time to hug, cuddle, and reassure them, particularly as the move gets close and in the first few weeks in their new community.
Open up with your child and talk to them. If they will miss a specific park or old friends, make an effort to visit. Remind them that things they love will still be with them after the move out of the old house, such as favorite toys, books, or other comfort items. You can read some excellent age-appropriate books to your child on the days and weeks leading up to their move to help prepare them for what to expect. These books can also help guide discussion about the move. Consider, I’m Moving! New House, Same Underwear: A story to help kids feel excited about moving, or Moving Day, or research more readily available books at your local library based on your kids’ age and preferences.
Get Them Excited About Their New Home
Take them to their new home before your move to show them their room and where all their favorite things will go to help them get used to the idea and consider involving them in picking out the paint color of their new room or anything else that will get them on board.
If physically visiting your new home is not possible in the days and weeks leading up to the move, show them a video tour of the new home and point out those things online. If needed, show it to them more than once.
Consider Getting a Babysitter on Moving Day
See if the grandparents or a trusted sitter is available on moving day to keep them out of the stress of the event of the move. This will reduce any tantrums you might need to deal with during the move and allow you to focus on creating a welcoming environment for your tot to move into.
Pack the Kids’ Rooms Last, and Unpack Them First
By disrupting your child’s schedule and personal space for the smallest amount of time possible, you may find a smoother transition into your move. For those who can have a babysitter on the day(s) surrounding the move, you can take them to their new home with their room already set up and ready to go.
Pack a “Go” Bag of Important Toys
A bag with the most important toys, loveys, and clothes will ensure that your children have access to their favorite things before all boxes are unpacked. This will provide instant comfort in their new home, even on the first night.