Think moving with kids has to equal tears and tantrums? We’re here to prove that conventional wisdom is wrong on this one. Moving with kids may not be easy — after all, neither is moving itself — but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
Below we’ve outlined our four best strategies for helping little ones adjust to a move. Read them over and try them out on your family. We’re sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how well these tips work.
Make it an adventure
Let’s face it: Moving can be stressful and scary for all of us, even adults who have been through this process before. Now just imagine how scary it would be if everything about it was new and we didn’t have any control over what’s happening around us. It’s no wonder moving is tough on kids, but as the adult, you can change the narrative. You can reframe it as an exciting adventure.
Start by using their favorite toys. Act out a scene in which one of their favorite toys gets the opportunity to move to a new home — and loves it. Then, at a good time, tell your child that he or she will have the chance to move to a new home, as well. Reading books on the subject can also be helpful, if you want to reinforce the idea.
Then, watch your language. When you’re around the kids, make sure you remain positive about the move. Reassure them that, while it’s OK to be sad or nervous about leaving, you’re about to embark on an exciting adventure and they will ultimately love their new home.
Give them a job to do
We get that on moving day you probably don’t want to keep track of one more thing. However, having your kids involved in the moving — and packing — process will go a long way toward keeping them focused and engaged rather than simply underfoot. After all, no one reacts well to being told to keep quiet and stay out of the way.
To make it easier on yourself the day of, brainstorm a list of age-appropriate duties beforehand. Below is a list to get you started:
- Checking for missed items
- Packing up their own toys
- Carrying small boxes and bags
Then, on the big day, dole out these jobs as needed. Be sure to stay positive and make a big fuss once a task has been completed. The key is to make your child feel as though he or she is an integral part of the work.
Keep favorites close at hand
Keeping track of valuables is crucial in a move. This goes double when kids are involved. No one wants to deal with the fallout of having their favorite toy or special comfort item lost in the shuffle. To keep those items protected, we recommend storing them in a special overnight bag; one that travels with you rather than the movers.
You can also use this bag to keep fun distractions on hand in case your child gets restless. These could be things like new coloring books and crayons, stickers, non-perishable snacks or action figures.
Is this bribery? Technically, but it can go a long way toward keeping tantrums at bay when your attention needs to be elsewhere.
Explore the new neighborhood
Unfortunately, the moving process doesn’t stop once the truck is unpacked. Children often need time and assistance to adjust to their new surroundings. You can help them through it by following a procedure similar to the one listed above. Frame being in your new neighborhood as an adventure and take time to explore this exciting new place.
Kids adjust faster when their surroundings feel familiar, so be sure to get out and about as soon as possible. Walk to ice cream shops and parks. Introduce yourselves to other families in the neighborhood. If they’re starting a new school, see if you can arrange a time for them to tour the school and meet their teachers before their first day.
You could even pick out a few fun activities together to try in your new town so they have something to look forward to once you arrive at your new home.
Have you experienced moving with kids recently? If so, what tips and wisdom can you offer? Share them with us in the comments!