Moving with Kids? Tips to Make the Transition Smoother
Tell people you’re moving and you’ll basically get the same response from everyone: “Good luck!” or “I don’t envy you”. Moving is stressful, even if you’re happy and excited about your new digs. The key is starting the process much sooner than you think. When you have kids underfoot, life continues even in the midst of packing.
Boxes and Boxes
If you’re moving yourself, start accumulating boxes a month or two before the move. Even if you’re hiring a moving company, you’ll need a few to transport some necessities and special care items to your new home. Most grocery stores and retail stores stock shelves in the morning, so you can get your groceries and score boxes at the same time. Liquor stores and bookstores will have sturdy small boxes. You can also find boxes on Craigslist and Freecycle.
Packing Little Tots Stuff
Declutter, purge, and pack when the younger kids are asleep or at school. If the kids see their toys and books being packed, they may think they’ll never see them again or suddenly can’t live without them, even for the duration of the move. Keep some items out for them to play with and even consider getting some inexpensive new ones from the dollar store to occupy them on the move date.
Use colored tape or a specific sticker for each kid’s box of stuff. Let them have a box to pack some of their things in. You may have to unpack it, but it will give them a sense of ownership and some amount of control over the moving process. Because it’s so easy to get distracted and move from room to room, pack one room at a time and move to the next. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment instead of having half packed boxes in each room.
A Carry-On for Everyone
Whether you’re facing a few days at a hotel before moving in or just moving across town, an individually packed duffle bag, kids’ suitcase, or box will make it simple to unpack and settle in for the first night at the new home. Pack the essentials, plus their favorite stuffed animal, blanket, pillow, night-lights, books, and whatever may help ease the transition into the surroundings.
You’ll want to have a babysitter watch the kids or at least have someone entertain them in another room or outside. Packing day and moving day is chaotic and not safe for kids to be underfoot.
First Night Box
You’ll need more than the basic toiletries to feel comfy on your first night in the new house. After you assemble the box, place it last in the car so you have immediate access to it when you arrive. You may consider these extras to make it more comfortable on your first night:
Cleaning Supplies: Excitement about moving in quickly diminishes when you arrive to a dirty house. You hope the house would be clean, but the likelihood of this happening is small. You probably won’t have the time or energy to do a deep clean, but these items can help with the superficial concerns. Pack a small box or tote with sanitizing wipes for toilets, sinks and surface areas, cleaning gloves and bath/shower cleaner, paper towels or rags, garbage bags, dish soap, and hand soap.
Food and Drink: It’s easy to pick up some food to-go from the grocery store or order take-out, but you’ll need some snack foods too. Blood sugar drops and dehydration makes for a cranky family. Pack protein-rich snacks like jerky, almonds, and peanut butter. Finger foods like fruit and crackers, microwave popcorn, along with plenty of water and juice, help to keep everyone hydrated and happy. Cereal, bagels, or milk make the first breakfast simple without having to make a trip to the grocery store. Toss in some paper/plastic plates, cups, bowls, and utensils with napkins. If you need coffee before functioning, keep your coffee maker in the essentials box to make your first cup in the morning.
Personal Comforts: Linens, blankets, and pillows for bedding. If you’re waiting on the moving truck and have a few days before the beds come, inflatable mattresses are inexpensive and easy to set up. Use a fitted and top sheet like you would with a mattress and you’re good to go. Don’t forget clean towels and toilet paper and any prescriptions you may need. Toss in an inexpensive shower curtain liner, if your house doesn’t have built-in shower doors.
Moving is exhausting – mentally and physically. Although you may be ready to say good riddance to your old house and want to focus on the new house, your kids will probably feel differently. Expect a meltdown or two. Carve out extra time on the morning of the move, so you’re not rushed. Once everything is out, say goodbye to your old house. Take time to look at each room and share memories you each had. You may be surprised at how emotional you get versus how quickly your child moves on. A proper goodbye is good closure for everyone.
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