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Tips for Moving with Kids

  1. Prepare kids for what to expect. Young children might not have a good understanding of what the term “moving” really means. Explain to them exactly what will happen, and 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. Have a goodbye party. Give your kids an opportunity to say goodbye to the people who matter to them most. Children love a celebration, and this can be a great way to turn your move into a positive, exciting experience.
  4. Make a memory board. If you’re preparing for a long-distance move, chances are good that you’ll be leaving family and close friends behind. Help your kids make a memory board by building a collage of their favorite pictures with their favorite people. When you get to your new home, they can hang this memory board in a special place where they can see their loved ones every day.
  5. Don’t rush yourself. It’s hard to accomplish any task quickly with small children under foot. Give yourself lots of time to plan and execute your move. For example, packing with a 12 month-old who took items out of the boxes faster than I could put them in was quite a challenge (and required lots of patience). It took a long time, but I did finally finish.
  6. Take kids’ concerns seriously. Even toddlers can verbalize at least some of what they’re feeling, and older children will probably have lots of questions and concerns. Always treat kids’ feelings wth respect, even when you can’t accomodate their requests.
  7. 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.
  8. Pull out the pull-ups. If you’ll be traveling by car or plane with a recently potty-trained toddler or pre-schooler, think about putting them in a pull-up for the duration of your trip. It will give you peace of mind, just in case you can’t find a bathroom along the way.
  9. Pack a special bag of favorite 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 favor; 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.