Spring and Summer are typically moving time, and many of these moves will involve kids. There’s no doubt that moving is traumatic for families, but there are steps you can take to lessen the stress on the kids. Take a look at these tips:
Present the move as a positive, good thing. Plan a few surprises along the way, and plan a special day after the move is complete so the kids have something to look forward to.
Familiarity is a good thing. If possible, visit your new town with the kids so they can familiarize themselves with their new community. Tour the new school. Check out the parks, favorite restaurants, ice cream shop, mall. Find some totally different activities than what they do now, that they can look forward to. Is there a water park in your new town? Pool? Clubs & organizations? Fishing hole? Boating? Camping? Pro sports teams?
Keep the kids involved, especially if a little older. Let them choose their room colors, and maybe let them choose a new addition to their bedroom … their own desk, a beanbag chair, a Lego wall, reading nook, new stuffed animal. Find ways for them to help with the moving process, like packing, labeling. (Obviously, this works better with older kids and teens than toddlers.) Let them research places to explore once you’re in the new home.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help with the kids! This is the time to call on friends and family, babysitters, neighbors … anyone who wants to know if they can help. When packing, it works best if the kids are out of the house, or at the very least, in an area of the house where you AREN’T trying to pack!
Pack at night. At least, pack the younger kids things when they’re not around, or sleeping. If they’re in the room when you’re packing their things, you know how it will go: The eager toddler will unpack boxes as quickly as you’re packing them. Or will wail that that’s their favorite toy and they want to play with it NOW!
Help Organize a Garage Sale. Older kids can be a big help with this. Ask them to make signs, hold a lemonade stand, let them keep the proceeds from selling their old toys and clothing. Younger kids, who might suddenly become attached to toys they haven’t played with in months, should probably not be around during the garage sale!
Organize by Color Coding. Use colored duct tape to designate where the boxes will go in your new home. Yellow for son, green for daughter, red for kitchen … you get the idea. At a glance, easy-peasy sorting in the new home.
On moving day: Pack a moving day bag for each kid for moving day, and include their favorite stuffed animals, books, activities. Take the kids on a final walk-through of your empty house, and even say good-bye to each room if that helps them get closure.
Be patient. Moving is exhausting and psychologically unsettling. Expect tears, sadness, and a few meltdowns. It’s all part of the process. Don’t be surprised if it takes nearly a year before you all feel settled in your new home.
The Seay Realty Group has many more ideas on how to make moving day less overwhelming. Ask us about it!