I lived in the same house my entire childhood and young adult life. My first experience with “moving” was to college and four years later I moved back to that same house until I was married. Since then, packing up and moving (with way more stuff than my college years) every 6 months to 2.5 years has become my new normal. Once, I even moved three times within one year. Whether heading across the country or just across town, moving can be incredibly stressful, especially with small children. I’ve discovered a few tips that will hopefully help you decrease the tension if you find yourself needing to pack up and move with little ones in tow.
Prepare the kids for what to expect.
As soon as you know that you will be moving, let your kids know what to expect. Depending on their age this may be simple or a bit difficult to do. Older kids need to know that you will help them to keep in touch with friends and talking about fun things that they can do where you will be moving to can help them get excited for the new things to come. Younger kids might know that something is changing, but not really understand what it is. The best thing you can do is reassure them that Mommy and Daddy will be with them throughout these changes.
If you can, plan ahead. Moving is hard. Add children and it can feel impossible. The more time you give yourself, the more you can do and the less stressful it will feel.
Time your move.
Many times (as in our case) you have no say in when you move. But if you do have input as to when you move, choose a less busy time of year — keeping important holidays and children’s school schedules in mind.
This is a big one. Everyone has things sitting around that they keep thinking they need to sell, donate, or throw away. You don’t want to move items that you no longer want or plan to use. The weight and amount of your things will add up, so anything that you can get rid of beforehand will help with packing for your move as well as unpacking at your new destination.
Label boxes clearly with the contents, as well as which room they need to go to in the new house. Pack one box (per room even) – clearly marked – with the things that you need immediately upon arriving to your destination. A clean set of clothes, sheets, toiletries, clean towels, toilet paper, etc. Also place some disposable plates and utensils in case you want to eat before all of your dishes are unpacked.
Always bring extra diapers and a clean set of clothing for the little ones. If you have a child recently potty trained, you might want to put them in a pull-up just to be safe.
If you have friends helping you unload your boxes, label each room so that they know where to take boxes to (which rooms will be each child’s room). Bring the large furniture items first and put them in place. Unpack the clearly marked box of most important items. Then take your time unpacking the remainder of your boxes.
This is how we have managed to keep our many moves as smooth as possible. There will always be stress when relocating, especially when little ones are along for the ride. But if you keep things simple and organized and prepare as much as you can, it will make the process easier on everyone.