Summer is a big transition time for many families and moving is often at the top of the list. There is always trepidation about moving, especially when you have children. It does not matter if you are moving across town, to another city or to another part of the world; it can all be very stressful. I personally have moved my family seven times since my husband is a Navy Chaplain and these are some tricks I have learned to make moving an easier experience for your child.
Tips for Making A Move Easier On Your Child
- Try not to make any big changes during the transition– don’t work on cessation of thumb sucking, potty training, or change sleeping habits. Try to keep everything status quo if you can.
- Focus on pre- packing rooms that the children do not use much. Plan on having
their rooms packed last so they feel somewhat protected from the chaos.
- It helps to have a “safe” suitcase of special possessions that your child wants to take along on the move. It can include pictures, stuffed animals, and clothes, but whatever is in that suitcase will stay near your child and is not packed in a box to be sent on the moving truck.
- Plan on having a trusted friend, relative or neighbor keep children during the actual pack out day so they are not in the “frenzy” of moving day. It is difficult for children to see strangers in the house putting everything into boxes. You will also have a much better and focused moving day experience if you do not have to do tasks such as preparing food etc. and split your attention between your children’s daily needs and the moving tasks at hand.
- If you have hired packers, make the request to have them leave by to 7-8pm. Once they leave you will be able to resume some normal evening activities and the children will have a sense of privacy and some processing time before bed. Stick with their normal routine as much as possible and normal bedtime so you can have a few minutes at the end of the day as well.
- For our moves, I stashed little gifts in their “safe suitcase” so they could open them when we got to our destination or as we traveled. They looked forward each day to the gift they could open. I also kept a calendar handy that had pictures drawn on it so they could keep track of the days and how we might get to our destination.
- Keep a picture of the house you are leaving and the place you are moving posted so they can see where they are going. When appropriate, talk about how things will be when they get there. What will your room look like? Will you be sharing a room now or be alone? What will you see from your window?
- It also helps to use the preprinted books about moving so kids can talk about their feelings. You might be surprised how they open up and share what they are thinking and feeling. It is good to discover and dispel any bad feelings as they come up.
In all things try to stay calm because your children will draw from your strength and attitude and they will watch how you handle the changes. The whole moving process will be much better with a little planning and preparation!