Chances are that if you are moving, you are a little stressed about everything that needs to be done. Throw some kids into that mix, with everything they are feeling and going through during the process of moving, and you have gone into a whole new level of stress. Most kids just want to have fun, so when you start this moving process, try and think of ways to help your child relax and have fun with the process. If you make moving fun for your kids, the whole family will benefit.
Prepare Your Child
Moving may be harder on your kids than you realize. If they are in school and moving to a new district, they will be entering a place full of new teachers and classmates. They may have good friends in the neighborhood and are sad about not getting to see these friends as much. They also probably feel a strong connection with your current residence and the nearby area. Moving will be hard, and you need to take the time to sit down and make sure you understand what your child is going through. Let them know that you are anxious too, but that the family will get through this together. Give them room to go through the mixed emotions they may have about moving. Having this discussion help you and the rest of your family as well.
Involve Your Kids
You are not just sorting through your own things, you also need to go through your kid’s stuff. When you are deciding what to keep, toss, or donate, let your children in on the process. They know what they want to keep or not. If you take this opportunity to teach them that there are other kids out there who are not as fortunate as they are, you will be surprised at what your children will put into the donate pile. This also teaches them a great lesson of giving back and only keeping what they need or really use.
Let Them Create
In the trash pile sit all kinds of lotions and other beauty items that are half used that you do not want to take with you. What if instead of just throwing them out, you let your kids mix them all together and create a few little potions? They could also play dress-up with old makeup. You will toss this stuff later anyways, and letting your kids do this will occupy them and allow you to go through and get some other things done. Just make sure they are ingredients that are safe and easy for your children to handle. Only let your kids do this if you’re sure they won’t try to eat their concoctions!
All Those Boxes
Those piles of boxes can be overwhelming for you and your kids. Think about letting them help you tape them up. Then take it one step further and instead of just writing what is in the box and what room it belongs to, let your children decorate them. This will make it more fun to see them all piled up in the room with all their belongings inside. Make sure to set out the markers and decorative tape along with packing tape. You may go through some extra supplies, but it will be worth it to know that your kids were happily involved in getting things ready to move. Just think about how amazing those boxes will look when the door rolls up on that moving truck!
Playtime During Work Time
All those boxes are sitting there empty and ready to be packed. You can’t get them all packed at once, and this will take some time. Let your kids sit in them, make a fort, and slide around the floor. The boxes will get banged up anyway moving from one house to the other. Once the boxes are packed, you can make targets for where you want your kids to move those boxes. Let them slide them across the floor into the target area. Making the work part of moving fun will make it easier on your kids and on you.
Most of your things are packed up, and the furniture is moved to the side. Now it is time to take those beds apart. The mattresses are just sitting there while you are busy taking the bed frame apart. Would it really hurt to let those little monkeys jump on the bed for a few minutes? They can get out some energy and have fun doing something they are probably not usually allowed to do. Just make sure that the mattresses are not anywhere near any breakables, hard corners, or windows.
It’s the last night in your house, and everything is ready to go. Keep some blankets and pillows handy and have your tent ready. If it is nice enough outside, think about putting that tent up and having a family campout in your backyard one last time. If there is room inside, you could also put the tent up in there. Throw those pillows and blankets inside and have a night of family fun.
Another fun option at the end of the packing process is to have your kids write a note and hide it somewhere in the house for the next family to find. You could even bury something special in the garden. Letting your kids leave a little memory of them in the house before they leave may help them be more relaxed and excited about moving.
Take your kids by the new house a few days before you move. Explore the area with them. Are there any parks close by? Do they see any potential new friends outside that they could play with? Are there any cool-looking restaurants or stores nearby?
Create something new as family to place in your new home. It could be a painting you work on together, or you could take a new family picture to hang up. Also let your kids pick out something new for their new space. It could be curtains, bedding, or something to hang on the wall.
Your entire family is moving into a new place. Taking the time to make sure your kids are feeling okay about it and including them in every aspect of moving not only helps them, but it helps create some great family memories that you will have forever. Make moving fun for your kids and yourself! If you want more information on moving with a small child, check out Porta-Stor’s guide to moving with a toddler.