Moving can be stressful, especially when you have a family, but it’s also an ideal time to get the entire family on board and to bring a little order to your household. If you are about to move your family, here are some top tips to keep in mind:
Make a Family Plan
As we’ve shared before, a plan is the first step to a successful move, and when you’re moving with a family and kids, it’s an even more important step. Make sure everyone moving, from grandparents to kids, is involved in the plan. It may be a good idea to sit down with the adults in the family to iron out any details. Your moving plan should be specific – break tasks down as much as you can and give yourself specific due dates. Once the details are figured out, bring the younger family members into the discussion. Let them know what’s happening, how the move will work, and the timeline. A plan will go much more smoothly if the whole family is on board.
Involve Your Kids
Children love responsibility, and can be great helpers when it’s time to move, no matter their age. Invite them to participate when preparing to pack, particularly in their rooms. Ask your children to show you what they like, what they don’t like, accept their answers and thank them heartily for their input. Then provide them with some starter boxes, so they can begin to put a few things away. If they’re a little slow to get started, show them what you’ve been working on – it may motivate them to follow suit.
When working with kids, especially young kids, it’s helpful to personify items. This means bring a little life to both the item and its use. For example, instead of saying, “Do you want this?” ask, “Would you like to give this a home in our new house?” It’s easier for kids to make choices when the pressure is not on them, but on the item or the situation at hand. And similarly, let them know that the things they love will all have a new home in the next house. Some might be a bit concerned their favorite things could be left behind.
Listen to Their Wants
At the same time, let your kids know that it’s OK to let things go, whether it’s an old toy, a gift from you, or a hand-me-down sweater. Kids often don’t realize that they are allowed to decide what lives in their rooms. Let them know that it’s OK if they don’t like something they were gifted or passed along. And when they identify something they don’t really want, listen and accept their answer.
Make a Donate Zone
Set aside a space for give-away and donations, perhaps by the front door or in the garage. Let your whole family know that the area is for donations and will be taken to your local charity or thrift store. Invite everyone in your family to add anything of theirs to the pile, including the kids. They’ll be excited to have a little control over the things they bring to the new home, and maybe you’ll learn something about their tastes in the process. If you’re looking for a little extra way to involve the kids, have them be the keepers of the donation zone. Ask them to track what’s in the pile and list it out (you can use this for tax purposes, later), and have them let you know when the zone is full.
Pack a few special boxes or suitcases filled just with the things you’ll need to get through your first week in your new home: clothing, sports equipment needed for the kids, bathroom items, and of course, any special toys. Moving is often hard for children, so having their favorite toy or blanket, something familiar, as soon as they get to the new home is a great comfort and will help them to settle in.
These little cuties know how to pack with style!
Set these aside and either move them in your car, or ask the movers to pack them last so they are the first items off the moving truck. Or better yet, ask your kids to tote along their own special backpack or suitcase, as it will give them something special to do on moving day.
Create a Countdown
Change can be tough on a family, especially on little ones, but kids look to their parents for guidance on how to react when the pressure is on. So make your final days in your old home fun. Try placing a countdown calendar in your kitchen, and gather as a family each evening to ‘check off’ the day, making a celebration out of counting down to ‘1’. You might even give your kids a chance to have a party in an empty room, perhaps the formal dining room, or some place where they previously weren’t allowed to play. Keep it light, with balloons and maybe a casual pizza for the family to enjoy. Or make a special breakfast on your final mornings, to let the kids know fun change is in the air. It’s a great chance to honor the home you are leaving behind, as well as come together as a family as you prepare for a new leg on your journey.
Do you have a great family moving tip? Share in the comments below!