Are you getting ready for what feels like the biggest move of your life? Moving into a new home with kids in tow can feel very overwhelming. You may worry about managing the move successfully. You can’t pause daily activities like cooking dinner, helping with homework and carpooling. Even as you prepare to move, you’re still ‘mom’.
As with any transition, preparation is key. With a plan and a few tips, we promise you will get through it. There is light at the end of the tunnel! A smooth relocation with kids is possible. Here are 10 tips for a successful move with children.
Prepare yourself for the move
Before focusing on how to make the move easier on your children, you need to get yourself organized first! Plan out the weeks leading up to your move with a Moving Countdown Calendar. It will give you an idea of what should be on your list of to-dos each week up until moving day. Spend some time thinking about how you want the move to go and what belongings you want to take with you. You need help for a quick and effective move. A professional mover can take the labour of moving off of you so you can focus on your family’s experience during the transition. With that said, everything you own will be loaded onto the truck, so you want to make sure the moving company you choose is reliable, trustworthy and reputable. There is nothing worse than ending up with careless movers!
Choose the right mover for your family
Choosing a mover means spending time doing your research and learning about the different types of services they offer. For us, we trust United Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. Not only have they been in business for 65 years, they offer a wide range of moving services to to meet our family’s unique needs.
If you are looking to have someone come into your home and do everything from the packing to the unpacking, then a Full Service move is the right solution for you. A great option for those who are looking to roll up their selves is a Do-it-Yourself move where you pack, load and unpack, but leave the driving to the movers. Figure out what you need and then hire the right professional to get you there. The best place to start is with a free quote. A moving consultant will help you work out your costs and your preferences to get your move done right.
Read books about moving
If you want to ensure a successful move with children, begin by preparing them for what’s to come. Books are always a good resource for any transition. In preparation for your new adventure, reading to your children will help them acclimatize to their new situation. By reading books with a positive approach to moving, your children will gain an understanding of what to expect about relocating. Many books can have a universal message that children can easily relate to, especially if it is through the lens of another child. This can help ease their apprehension and fears, putting a positive spin on this new journey. They will use this knowledge to make connections about their own move in a meaningful and reassuring way. These books are great for preparing your children for a move:
Get personalized labels for their own boxes
In preparation for packing, get some fun personalized labels for your kids’ boxes. There are so many amazing label companies now, you can get just about any type of label you are looking for! Whether your kids are into sports, dancing, fire trucks or princesses, order them some personalized labels that they can plaster all over the boxes that belong to them! When they come off the truck on moving day, they will know which boxes are theirs. Once the boxes are labelled, you can also suggest decorating the boxes!
Some moving companies even offer special cartons for kids to personalize and fill with their treasures. If you use a mover, ask your moving consultant if they have anything to make the day extra special for your little ones. Keeping them entertained while you get things organized gets them excited for moving day.
Involve the kids in packing
Once you have planned out the day of the move, start packing! The more help you have the better, because the job is huge! If you’re using a mover, you have the option to have your belongings packed for you. Whether or not you have hired professional moving services, kids should be involved in the process.
As you begin to pack, it might be hard for them to part with some of their toys or other items. Let them pack their unbreakable belongings. You can also task them with creating their own inventory list of what’s in their boxes. When they are looking for their toys, you will be able to reference their very own inventory list together. A great way to get your kids excited and to include them in this big change is to ask them how they’d like to set up their new room!
Involve them in the new Decor for Their Room
Include your child in decisions about their new room. Maybe they will want it to look similar to their current room, or maybe they will want something fresh and new! Spend some time looking at pictures and talking to your child about what they want in their new room so that you can create a special space for them to look forward to. Take them on shopping trips to pick out items or to the paint store to help choose the wall color. It may feel easier to make all the decisions yourself, but including your child will make the transition easier for everyone!
Take the kids on a tour
As soon as you can, take your kids to see their new home. Kids need some time to adjust. Give them the opportunity to run around and see what their new living space looks and feels like. The first time they see the house, you don’t have to commit to which room belongs to who, just let them ask questions about their new home!
Scavenger hunt to find things around the house
On your final visit to the house before you move in, or whenever time allows, take your children on a scavenger hunt around the house to familiarize themselves with the new space. In addition to getting them comfortable in the space, a fun experience will always be something that they will remember! Depending on the age of your child, it can be an easy hunt looking for specific objects that you place around the home like a key and a ball, or it can be more challenging questions like “How many lights are in the home?” or “find something blue”. Whatever you you do, slot in some time for some good old fun!
Download an easy scavenger hunt for young children here.
Download a harder scavenger hunt for older children here.
Pack a “first night in the home” box
The first night in the new house can be a scary one. New rooms for everyone, new sounds and everything is new! Plan ahead as you likely won’t be unpacked. Pack a “first night in the new home” box or bag with everything you will need and keep it separate from those that are being loaded onto the truck. Include items such as sleeping bags, pillows, pjs, their favorite movie, chargers, and snacks. The bag will make the first night a comfortable stay. Make it a fun night to look forward to by turning it into a movie night or a games night!
Make a scrapbook/memory book of your old home
It hurts to saying goodbye. While they will always remember their first home, memories can soon fade as they create new ones at their new address. Before you move, create a scrapbook for your kids. Take pictures of all the rooms in the house and anything special you want them to remember. Remind them their memories will always last and they can look through their scrapbook when they miss their old home!
Assemble a moving squad
Moving day will be very busy for everyone. Unpacking takes some time, and it will be a bit before you are back into a normal routine. Assemble a moving squad with all members of your family and give everyone a role for the day of the move. Any job will do, but everyone must have one! Ask someone to check the rooms to make sure they are empty and check the fridge to make sure there are no drinks left behind. Each child should have something to do! Specific tasks help your kids say goodbye to their old home and make sure they have everything they need to say hello to the new home!
At the end of the day, even with all the preparation, moving is still a big transition. Make sure you communicate with your kids. Encourage them to tell you how they are feeling and talk through any fear or concerns they may have. The more you communicate, the easier it will be! Moving day is obviously very big and stressful, so if you find that everything is getting a little bit too hectic, why not consider hiring a nanny to look after your kids for the day, or just for a few hours via a Nanny Agency? This will ease some of the pressure off yourself, but also the kids, and there are plenty of great agencies to choose from! As long as you communicate to your kids beforehand, there is nothing wrong with getting some childcare during the actual moving process and you can still very much get them involved in the process before and after.
If you’re moving and unsure where to start, book an in-home estimate with a professional mover like United Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. They can paint a picture of what your family can expect and chat through all your moving options with you.
Share some of your tips below!
Photography by Ben Starkman.
Great tips! I especially like the encouragement to read books about the move so it can emotionally prepare a child for such a big life transition.