Moving is stressful enough. When you have kids, the chances of something going wrong increase tenfold. Not only do you have to pack for the whole family and find a new place that fits every member’s needs, but you also need to prepare children for the emotional toll a move can make. Children have a limited worldview — what with their being on the earth for such a short time — so something like leaving the only house they’ve ever called home can be heartbreaking. When it comes to juggling the many responsibilities and stresses that come with a family move, parents can use the following moving tips to help everything run as smoothly as possible.
Look to the Future
Once you’ve broken the news that you’re moving to your children, try and shift their focus to the exciting future ahead. Have them help when it comes to looking at homes and talk with them about how they will be able to enjoy their new bedroom or the cool new den where they can play video games. When looking at homes, research the most recent prices by neighborhood. When choosing neighborhoods, focus on the ones with the best schools. Great schools are a property value indicator even if you don’t have kids, but making sure you’re kids get their education in an environment that facilitates success is your responsibility as a parent.
Pare Down Belongings
The less stuff you have to pack, the easier your move. Instead of boxing up every item in the house now is a great time to clean out closets and get rid of things your family no longer wants or needs. Chances are, your kids have plenty of clothes they’ve grown out of and toys they don’t play with. Talk with them about how they can donate these items to charities that will give them to kids who need them– this is usually a great motivator that encourages kids to part with their belongings. Don’t forget about your own stuff, too. Look beyond clothes and clean out other items such as books, documents, office supplies, tools, sports equipment and kitchen gadgets you no longer need.
Hold a Yard Sale
A yard sale is a great opportunity to teach kids a little about economics while making some extra money for the move. Anything that you don’t donate can be tagged and set out for sale. Have the children help when it comes to pricing their items — just remember that prices should rarely be more than $5. You can either have kids receive the money directly from their items that sell so they can put it in their piggy banks or pool all the profits together to get something the whole family will love like tickets to an amusement park or a new game system.
Over-Label Every Box
The more efficient your labeling, the quicker your unpacking process. Instead of just writing “kids’ room” on a box, be more descriptive. Are there books in there? Toys? Clothes? Knowing what exactly the box contains means you can prioritize what to unpack. While you want essentials like seasonal clothes and school supplies ready for access, there’s no reason the whole family has to rush to unpack an entire house over one or two days. Having everything efficiently labeled means the family can take their time unpacking and jump into your new lives in a new home.
The key to making moving less stressful for kids is communication. Letting them in on the house-hunting process, cleaning out belongings and selling or donating whatever you don’t want provides them with some agency during a time where they feel like everything is out of their control. From telling them about the move to labeling the boxes you’re taking to the new home, extra communication can provide a sense of security for the whole family.