Moving is always a challenge. However, when you have small children, getting through your long to-do list is even more difficult. Children get in the way, take what you have already packed out of the boxes to play with, and require a lot of attention. You love your kids and want this transition to go smoothly, but you’re not sure how packing and childcare can happen simultaneously.
Follow the tips in this blog. Though moving will never be easy, with some smart planning, you can make it easier than ever.
1. Explain the Move in Advance
You don’t want to worry your children about the move in advance, but you also don’t want to spring the news on them right before it happens. In order for your children to process the move, they need some advance warning.
For very small children, such as toddlers or preschoolers, tell them about the move about a month before it happens. That will give them enough time to think about it without it weighing on their minds for an unnecessarily long amount of time.
2. Start Packing Early (If Possible)
Packing will be difficult when you have small children running around the home. If you can, start packing non-essential items early on, perhaps a couple of weeks in advance. That will help you stay calm, since you won’t feel as rushed or stressed when your kids inevitably slow the process down.
If you can’t start early because your move is on a tight schedule, or if you’re trying to get the essential items packed right before you move, it might be time to reach out. Ask a friend or family member to look after your kids while you get through the packing-just make sure you ask someone who your kids will be excited to see during this stressful time.
3. Give Your Kids Tasks
Even very small children can help with some tasks, and having responsibilities will help your kids feel more involved and excited about the move. Ask your kids to:
- Put non-breakable items, like throw pillows, into boxes.
- Help you wrap tissue paper or newspaper around knick-knacks (if your kids are coordinated enough).
- Put pre-printed labels or colored stickers on packed boxes to designate the room the box belongs to.
With easy tasks like these, your kids will hopefully stay busy and out of your way.
4. Keep a Positive Attitude
Moving is hard on everyone. You may be sad as your kids about leaving behind friends, family, and your old home, but you need to stay strong. If you act stressed out or depressed, your kids’ negative emotions could be amplified.
That isn’t to say that you aren’t allowed to feel sad or frustrated. These emotions are very real and valid-don’t ignore them. Just try to express them when your kids aren’t around so that you don’t stress them out unnecessarily.
5. Expect Hard Times
Face it-even if you manage to stay perfectly calm, your kids will still have trouble. Expect your kids to be angry with you for moving or sad about what they’re leaving behind. You may see crying jags, temper tantrums, clinginess, whining, and disruptions to their appetites or sleep habits.
Your kids need you to help them talk about and learn to process their emotions. One way to help them through is to acknowledge that you’re sad or angry about moving too and to tell them about what is getting you through this hard time. Opening up about your emotions will help your children learn how to handle their own.
6. De-Clutter When They Sleep
Many kids are packrats, and when they’re afraid of change, they’re more likely than ever to clutch things tight. If you want to get rid of their broken toys, old artwork, and ratty clothes, do it when they’re asleep. They may never notice that they’re gone, especially if you get the items out of the house entirely (don’t leave them in the kitchen trash can-the kids will find them).
De-cluttering without kids around will save you some tears and temper tantrums. Plan ahead to make sure it happens, but don’t throw away any of your kids’ most precious objects.
7. Keep the Routine Consistent, But Add Fun
When you move, you’re likely to have erratic meals and bedtimes. Disruptions to your routine can be stressful, but the changes can also help kids feel like they’re on an adventure. Emphasize that staying up late and getting to eat out is a special treat associated with moving, and they may get excited.
However, when you can, keep the routine consistent. If your kids always get a bedtime story, make sure that still happens. The continuity will help soothe your kids during the transition from one home to the next.
Moving will not be easy. However, you’ll survive, and so will your kids. Just give it time-within a few months, your kids will likely feel at ease in their new home.
To make sure your move goes smoothly, don’t forget to rent your moving van in advance. Call Elite Truck Rental to get the right van at the right time for your move.