*Beginners Guide to Moving with Children is a guest post. If you are interested in writing for A Modern Mom’s Life, please visit my Guest Posting page.*
Moving is difficult as it is. Add kids into the formula and the task becomes ten times harder. The move entails a stressful time for the children and consequently for the adults.
Other than the extra chaos of packing, the children are asked to leave behind a comfortable, and familiar, environment. They have to say goodbye to their friends, classmates, teachers, and playmates. Kids react to change differently. No matter what you do, you can’t keep change from happening. And when you have to move, your kids may have a difficult time accepting it at first. But you can help them cope with the situation.
Here’s some wisdom from those who have had to endure moving with children. Hopefully, the following tips will help ease the transition for you and your family.
Gather a lot of patience before you start. You will need a lot of it in the coming months. Get yourself into a focused, problem-solving mindset.
Once you are confident of your own conviction, it is time to tell the children. Set a proper meeting and have a discussion. Breaking the news to them casually will most likely lead to resistance. Try to see the situation from their point of view. Studies reveal that moving negatively impacts children. This is especially true for introverted kids as it is harder for them to build relationships and they tend to be anxious in new environments.
Remember to explain the reason for the move. Be truthful and accurate when you give them information. Anticipate how they might react and have a plan for how you will handle their behavior. They might see you as the enemy who is taking away the life they know. But be careful not to be defensive. Just be understanding and reassuring.
If you are moving to a distant location, provide as much information as possible about the place. Learn what activities children can enjoy there. Contact relatives or acquaintances who live nearby. Anything familiar will help facilitate acceptance.
Determine the Details
After breaking the news, it is time to delve into the specifics. Determine the details of your move.
- Date – This is a very important detail that you have to figure out. It will dictate the rest of your preparations. Since kids are involved, you must consider a date that would cause the least disruption in their studies. If possible, wait until the school year ends. A move during breaks is also ideal.
- Method – Make an inventory of your possessions. List the items that you will pack into boxes, and furniture or appliances that need special handling. This exercise will tell you the moving supplies you need to buy. It will also give you an idea of how much packing you will do. You will be able to estimate when to start packing and assess if hiring moving professionals is necessary.
- Logistics – Identify your transportation and travel duration. Do your research and hire a moving truck from a trustworthy establishment. Assess if, based on your circumstances, it would be more practical to hire moving specialists or do it by yourself. The inventory you prepared will be handy in making this decision.
Don’t procrastinate packing
It is always better to pack early than to squeeze all the packing in the last weeks or days. By doing so, you will have the opportunity to be systematic and organized. You can also avoid issues caused by last-minute preparations.
Leave out only essential objects and pieces of clothing you will use until the move. Pack the rest early.
Take advantage of moving by leaving behind unnecessary items that you have accumulated over the years. Categorize your possessions into donation, gift, sale, and trash. Give items to friends and relatives or donate them somewhere. Setting up a yard sale is also a good idea. You will be surprised at how easily you can sell things you don’t use anymore.
Instruct your kids to also sort through their belongings and take only those they need. Tell them the size of their new space so they can plan ahead.
Organize your things
Group similar items and box them together. Label boxes accordingly and number them. That way, you will be able to track them more efficiently. Unpacking them in your new house would also be easier.
Pack an Essentials bag
Prepare a bag or box that contains clothes and practical items that the family will use during the move. Include enough supplies for your first few days at your new home. Upon arrival, the place will be chaotic and it will be hard to locate items, no matter how organized you’ve been.
Get the kids involved
From packing to getting rid of things to settling into your new home, let the kids be part of the process. Let them participate in making decisions, especially when it comes to their new rooms. Ask their opinions whenever applicable. As simple as they may appear, these contributions will give them a sense of control, which will alleviate their anxiety and apprehension.
Remember the patience you’re supposed to gather beforehand? You’ll need it even more after the move. Adjusting to a new environment takes time. This phase will be disorienting and emotional for your entire family.
Do what you can to make everyone comfortable. Arrange and decorate your new place. Meet the neighbors. Explore the new neighborhood. Soon enough, those things will cease to be unfamiliar. Eventually, it will feel like home.
Author Bio: Jessica is the head of content for Hire A Box – her father’s moving company. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling around the world to different surf spots and tasting the local cuisine.
Have you moved your family? I have not, as yet (and no plans to do so in the near future.) If you have, do you have anything to add to this post? I moved as a child and I remember being unhappy about leaving my friends, but excited to learn a new house and a new neighbourhood. Share your own experiences in the comments!