Post by Rebecca of Not So SAHM
(goofing on the front porch of our ol’ condo)
Our kids are still fairly young (6 and 5 years-old), but they spent those years growing up in one place — our beloved city condo. My husband and I had been wrestling with the decision to move for a long time, mostly unbeknownst to the kids. So when we sort of randomly found our perfect house, we’d already thought about moving quite a bit. But the kids hadn’t. So they really were not excited about the prospect of moving. And that sort of caught me off guard.
Given that experience and the fact that spring ’tis the season for moving, I thought it would be helpful to share with you some of the tips for moving with kids that helped us get through the process. Moving is a TON of work, but also an exciting adventure. I wouldn’t say that we made it through the feat unscathed, but since I’m never. moving. again., here are my tips (and quickly snapped photos from my phone) for you!
Tips for Moving with Kids — Involve your kids with packing up the old place in a fun and lighthearted way. Moving is an excellent opportunity to get rid of things and our kids really helped in that process. They sorted through their toys — tossing broken things, donating things they’d outgrown, and just generally organizing them. It’s time consuming, but it helped tremendously at the unpacking stage as well — things were already set up to be put away neatly. It meant I had their rooms mostly unpacked before they got home from school on moving day. We also had them do fun things like check the expiration dates on toiletries and medicines, and decorate our moving boxes. Try to emphasize the positive and downplay the fact that you’re likely getting rid of a lot of their stuff.
Tips for Moving with Kids — If you can, start making memories together in your new home before you move in. The timing doesn’t work for everyone, I know, but we did some work on the new house before moving and made sure the kids spent time there as well. It doesn’t need to be elaborate — we found a few family pizza picnic dinners on the floor before moving did the trick. And the kids spent a few trips iPad’ing on the floor while I supervised some of the construction work. It helped get them comfortable and familiar with the new place, which at first seemed a little sterile and hotel’ish because it just wasn’t the source yet of memories for us.
Tips for Moving with Kids — Think of fun things for them to do at the new home during the transition. Our kids were in charge of making sure all the bathrooms had toilet paper, swiffering within an inch of their lives, and counting all windows and stairs in a necessary and very serious inventory of the house. And they loved, loved helping put things together. It really helped them to feel like they were in charge of something related to the moving and got them exploring their new home. Plus, it meant I could put the dishes away without them so helpfully dropping plates.
Tips for Moving with Kids — Let the kids say goodbye to your old home. I was wary of unnecessarily dramatizing the move, but then I felt like I underestimated their emotions about leaving the only home they’d known. So we spent some time sharing our favorite things about the house and writing thank you letters to it. We left them at the old house and then moved on. I didn’t draw the process out, but it seemed to help them sort of close that loop.
Tips for Moving with Kids — Involve your kids in planning their new rooms and/or decor for the rest of the new home. It was important to me to give the kids familiar but new rooms when we moved. I was worried that setting up an identical version of their old room would work against me in the transition. Plus, they were more excited about the move once they learned they could help plan their new rooms! Sort of surprisingly, they were also very into helping pick out furniture for the rest of the house… to a point. If you’re planning on furniture shopping with your kids, try to stay flexible and perhaps bend the rules a bit — our guys got much more iPad time than they normally would’ve, but they were such good sports! (p.s. stay tuned for their room re-do’s, which we couldn’t have done without help from our buddies at The Land of Nod!)