Spring time is fast approaching (yay!) and with warmer weather usually comes moving season. When we think of moving, we often think of neatly packed brown boxes, big brawny movers and a large truck safely transporting our goods from our old home to an upgraded version.
However when you have kids, that vision changes slightly- instead, on moving day, you may be faced with random stuff everywhere, a toddler opening all the boxes you JUST packed, another kid drawing all over said boxes, and your husband or partner dragging industrial sized bags of clothing into a rented U-Haul while yelling at the kids to get out of the way.
Moving is such a huge task (both physically and emotionally) that there’s a reason why the average family doesn’t move too often. I’ve personally just survived a move from a condo to a house, complete with a toddler approaching her Terrible Twos. That being said, here’s a short article on some tips on keeping sane during such a hectic time!
1. Talk to your kids about the move. Young children might not have a good understanding of what the term “moving” really means. Explain to them exactly what will happen, and perhaps take the time to read some age-appropriate books about moving together.
2. Let the kids help you pack. If they’re old enough, let your children help you pack some of their personal belongings. Even at a young age, kids can sort their toys and help you wrap objects in tissue paper or bubble wrap. If you’ll be putting some things into storage, ask them what they would like to keep and what they don’t mind parting with for a while.
3. Time your move. Sometimes, circumstances dictate when you have to move. But, if you have a choice, try to time your move so that it occurs at a relatively calm period in your child’s life. Take school schedules into consideration, and avoid moving when other big changes (like potty-training or sleeping transitions) are happening, too.
4. Pack a special bag of favourite toys and activities. Invest in a small backpack or overnight bag that will stay with your child through the entire move. Kids can keep special items like dolls, books, or blankets in this bag, in addition to other toys that they can play with on the car trip or plane ride.
5. Pack one box of toys last. Your children are going to need things to do right up until the time you move out of your home. Don’t make the mistake of packing all the toys up first because you’ll be left with bored children who just might drive you crazy.
6. Label boxes of kids’ stuff very clearly. The day will come when you find yourself digging through boxes looking for the toy that they absolutely have to play with right now. Do yourself a favour; don’t just label boxes with the word “toys.” Include as much detail about what is in the box as you can because, trust me, you won’t remember.
7. Provide alternate entertainment. If babysitters are available, use them! You will get a lot more done if you can find a few kid-free hours. If you don’t have access to childcare, consider hosting a “Movie Day” and park your kids in front of the TV for a special Netflix marathon, just to get some packing out of the way.
8. Keep extra clothes handy. Not only is this a MUST for moving day, I find it’s a must for any day! I always keep 2 season-appropriate outfits ready for my daughter whenever I’m out with her, and more than once I’ve had to use BOTH outfits in one day.
9. Maintain familiar routines. Once you’re in your new home, some things will have to change. But try to maintain the aspects of your life that are most important to your kids. Stick to familiar bedtime routines and continue your tradition of Saturday morning pancakes if you can.
10. Make a big deal about all the exciting new things you can do. A new home means new friends and new opportunities. Get out and explore all the cool new attractions that you can visit if you’re in a new city, or take advantage of all the neat things your new home has to offer that your old home didn’t. Take the kids to the park down the street, to the new mall nearby, or even just for a spin in the car around the new neighbourhood! Make it a game to remember landmarks, in case they ever feel lost they would know which landmarks are close to their new home.
11. Don’t be in a hurry to unpack. If you immediately start pulling everything out of boxes, you’ll have piles of stuff everywhere, and the clutter will create unnecessary stress for everyone in the house. Take your time and unpack what you need slowly and gradually.
12. Make it feel like home. Take your time unpacking, but also make it a priority to hang or display some of your cherished and familiar personal items as soon as possible. Familiar things will help to make a new house feel like home for both you and your children.
13. Keep the moving boxes as long as possible. Once you’ve unpacked, you’ve got to keep the moving boxes for your kids. The make awesome tunnels and forts, and will keep them entertained for hours!
14. Don’t forget about your pets! Make sure to plan for your pets to come to the new house the same time the kids arrive and start to unpack/explore/poke around. This way, your kids will gain some comfort knowing that this new home isn’t just new territory for them, but for their furry pals as well.
*Inspired by the original post on Moving from ParentingSquad.com
Stephanie Casino is a mom of one, a digital content specialist and founder of the Canadian contest website for parents and tots, www.LuckyLittleOnes.ca. She claims her daily fuel is often in the form of strong coffee and even stronger wifi.