Moving with small children isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Take a few deep breaths because we’re here to help you prepare for your move with small children.
There are pros to moving with small children. Children under five are more malleable and will adjust better than older age groups to a move. You will have to answer seemingly endless questions, and there will likely be more than a few tantrums.
Try reading children’s books to them about moving. You can also create a box filled with objects from around the house and photos of the house. Small children have yet to grasp object permanency, meaning that when things are out of sight, they no longer exist. This box of photos and keepsakes will help a small child to process the move.
If you’re moving with elementary-aged kids, they’ll be able to understand the move better. Find ways for them to keep in contact with their old classmates from their new home.
Regardless of your child’s age, talk with them about their feelings so that you can help them work through any negative emotions that they may have toward the move. This guide from the Child Mind Institute can help you to communicate with your child during stressful times.
Explain to your children what will be the same and what will be different after a move and answer any questions that they may have. When you’re having this discussion, keep things upbeat and point out anything that might excite them about the upcoming move. Throughout the moving process, continue communicating with them and provide support.
We’ve compiled the best tips to make your move to Florida with little ones in tow as smooth as possible.
Tips for Moving with Kids
First, let’s take into account that moving is a pretty big deal for emotionally stable adults. It’s considered to be one of the top five stressful life events. That’s not to say it isn’t exciting, too.
Then, focus on how the kids may be feeling. They’ll be saying goodbye to friends, and things might feel scary and unpredictable.
Involve your kids as much as possible
Even the smallest things can help children to feel like they have some control over their lives during a massive transition. Give them small tasks to complete, like simple cleaning duties. Have them go through their old toys to decide which ones should be donated. Giving your child age-appropriate tasks helps you and them.
If you’re still house hunting and it’s feasible, let them come with you. If you’re house hunting remotely, show them photos of Zillow’s top choices and get their input.
After you’ve found your dream home, let them choose their room, and encourage them to begin thinking about how they’d like to decorate it.
Giving your kids a say makes it less likely for them to feel like they’re being forced to move and more likely to get excited.
Frame it as a big adventure
Harness the good in change! Show them tons of photos of the house, the neighborhood, and cool things to do in the new town. Have them help you plan a family outing for after you’ve settled into your new place. Remind them that they’re going to make tons of new friends and still keep in contact with the old.
Above all, try to remain positive, even if you’re feeling (understandably) overwhelmed. Fake it ’til you make it if you must. Kids feed off of their parents’ emotions; they’re like little sponges.
Use your kid-free time to your advantage
Naptime for them can be packing time for you. Keeping small kids safe and entertained is hard enough without the added stress of packing.
Start preparing earlier than you think you need to
You may think you only need a week to pack, but scrambling to get things done at the last minute while your kid is throwing a tantrum is not an ideal way to move. Starting earlier not only helps alleviate stress for you but also helps your child get used to the idea of a move.
Prepare your current house for new tenants as early as you can so that you and your family aren’t scrubbing the baseboards while the movers are pulling into your driveway.
Bribery isn’t always bad
Maybe your child’s been begging for a treehouse, but you’ve never had a big enough yard. Until now, that is. Let your child know that a treehouse (or something else that they’ve been wanting and is feasible) is in their post-move future, and they’re sure to get excited about the move.
For the short term, you can use treats or let them use an educational app when you need to get things done, or if they’ve helped with something. Moves don’t happen all that often, so no habits will have been made.
Don’t pack up their favorite items until it’s time to go
If they have a favorite blanket or toy, don’t pack it. As much as you may hate to see the clutter, these items bring comfort to your child. When moving day comes around, let them choose a few things to take with them. Pack these items in a moving day duffel bag that they can keep close by and pack a few special surprises for them too.
Keep a schedule
Keeping familiar routines while preparing for a move, as well as after the move will help your children to adjust. Kids thrive when they have a sense of routine and predictability.
Fill up the new house with familiar objects and set their new room up similarly
This can help kids to feel more comfortable after relocation. A lot has changed for them in a short period.
Kids may feel unsettled after a move, and it’s unsettling for anyone to have to cohabitate with a maze of boxes. Make your new place feel homey by unpacking, hanging up photos, and arranging the furniture. Your kids can help you to decorate the new space.
Help them make new friends and keep their old ones
Extracurricular groups are an excellent way for kids to make friends with peers that have similar interests.
Saying goodbye to friends is rough on kids. Luckily, technology makes it easier than ever to keep in touch with anyone from anywhere. You can plan playdates with their old friends via skype or other video chat software.
Moving with Kids Checklist
- Pack school and medical records
- Research your new city for fun activities to do with kids
- Go through toys with them and make keep/donate boxes
- Pack a special moving day duffel bag with their favorite things and a few surprises
Post Move Checklist
- Register and visit the new school
- Research local extracurricular activities/sign children up
- Start exploring your new town with your kids
Moving can feel overwhelming, especially when kids are involved. Follow these tips and use our checklist to make your move with kids easier. We’re here to make moving as stress-free as possible for your whole family. We can help with total moves, storage and packing, and even express packing. You can pack as little or as much as you want, and then let us handle the rest.