How to Get Your Children Ready for a Stress-Free Moving Day

The day of a big move can be frustrating in the best of circumstances. Adding kids to the equation can only make it more complicated. First, you’ll have to pack their stuff without losing track of any of their favorite toys. Then, there’s the matter of explaining the need for a move in the first place.

Even if you manage to do those things, you’ll still have to keep your kids safe and out of the way on the day of the move. Fortunately, you’re not the first person to go through this. With that in mind, we wanted to share some parent-approved tips for getting your children ready for moving day.

How to Get Your Kids Ready for Moving Day

Before you start worrying about packing your kids’ rooms up, you’ll have to talk to them about the move. So let’s start there.

Break the News Gently

When it comes to talking to your kids about moving, your approach will likely depend on several factors. On the one hand, older kids may be easier to talk to. But if they already have a friend group in the area, they may be reluctant to move. The protests will be even louder if you have to move in the middle of a school year.

In any case, that is where your communication skills and patience can come in handy. Above all, you should listen to your children’s concerns and allow them to express emotions, no matter how messy they may be. If they need to say goodbye to their friends, let them throw a party. Alternatively, you could help them wrap their heads around the move by helping them visualize their new life.

One way to do that would be to ask for their input while you figure out what the new home is going to look like. If you can, take them for a walk to see their new neighborhood before the moving day. Then, see if your kids have any suggestions for the new house. Even getting to choose the color of the walls could make them feel more in control.

On the other hand, you'll probably have no trouble convincing preschoolers and toddlers to look at the move like an adventure. After all, young kids don’t really have the capacity to understand those kinds of changes, so they’ll adjust quickly.

In the worst-case scenario, you may see some temporary developmental regressions when uprooting toddlers. Namely, they may start throwing tantrums, having sleep issues, and even bathroom accidents. That’s why it’s best to explain the situation in simple terms well in advance — and keep reminding your kids of it ahead of the moving day.

Pack It Up

After telling the kids about the move, you’ll be able to start packing freely. Even so, you might want to deal with the rest of the house before going into the kids’ stuff. Leaving their bedrooms intact for as long as possible should let them adjust to the idea of moving. So their stuff should be the last thing that gets on the movers’ van.

Speaking of which, your movers might prove to be an invaluable source of tips — even when it comes to dealing with kids. As the general manager of Oz Moving, a prominent NYC moving company, Nancy Zafrani has advised many parents to wait until their kids are asleep or away to pack their old belongings. That makes the whole process much less stressful.

Alternatively, if your kids are ready to take on more responsibility, you could also have them pack some of their stuff on their own. Most children love playing with moving boxes anyway, so they’ll love getting to fill some. Besides, that can be a good way to set aside their prized possessions to ensure that they don’t get lost in the shuffle. You could even drive them to your new home yourself, to be safe.

Engage and Entertain

Whether you’re packing or helping the movers take the boxes to their vehicles, you’ll want to have your kids out of the way. More importantly, you’ll want them to be away from sharp packing tools like scissors and box cutters. That’s why you should designate a kids’ zone in your home — especially on the day of the move.

If you have infants or toddlers, playpens or baby swings could get the job done for you. However, even older kids will be easy to control with different kinds of distractions, depending on your kids’ usual preferences. If interactive games like Simon Says or I Spy don’t keep them busy for long enough, you could have the kids play DJ for the day. And, to keep them from getting too antsy, you should really have snacks on hand even before you hit the road.

And hey, if nothing else works — there’s no shame in busting out a tablet or laptop to keep the peace. Have your kids watch movies and munch on popcorn while you’re packing and moving boxes. One day of indulgence won’t hurt. And if you’re worried about them misusing the smart gadgets you give them while you’re distracted, there are plenty of apps you can use to prevent them from exiting the approved programming.

On the other hand, if you’d rather have your kids working alongside you, you can always have them cleaning rooms as you empty them. Alternatively, you could have them handle other aspects of your routine you wouldn’t have time for on moving day. For example, they could walk the dog or run to the store if they’re old enough.

Executing a Stress-Free Move With Kids

Waking up on the day of your move shouldn’t have to be more stressful for parents than it is for single people. Luckily, the tips we have mentioned should help you get your kids in a helpful mood. Once they understand the reason behind the move, they’ll let you do what needs to be done without complaints. If you’re lucky, they might even help you declutter and pack!

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