Moving can be disorienting and exhausting, especially if you’re moving a family. And it also can really throw your kids for a stressful loop.
However, there are several steps that, when taken, can help you and your kiddos stay organized and make happy memories during this big life transition.
These steps revolve around two main themes:
Preparing for a move almost always takes longer than we expect. So add on a month or so to your estimation. Now double that total time.
As most of us know, getting anything done with kids takes about twice as long as it would without kids. So don’t forget this pace when planning for your move. Additionally, moving out of a familiar home or town is emotionally jarring.
But with an intentional effort to recognize the memories of the past while looking forward to the hope of the future, you will experience and provide for your family a much smoother transition. So keep these themes at the forefront of your mind during the move, and you will be much more likely to make decisions or know how to work through your move with more clarity, purpose, and calmness.
Consider the following eight tips that can help you and your family prepare for and transition into your new home.
Unpacking is going to be the last thing you’ll want to do the night you move everything into your new home. And most likely the following week is going to move a little jerkier as you get used to a new home environment, driving routes, and routines. So give yourself a break and pack up suitcases of essentials for everyone moving. Remember to bring several sets up pajamas for the kids, a few changes of clothes, socks, shoes, toiletries, toilet paper, towels, favorite blankets, toys, and stuffed animals, bottles, diapers, dishes, some minimal cookware, and a first aid kit. If you kids are still taking naps, make sure their crib or Pack n’ Play can be easily found and set-up first when you move. This way everything that you need for getting up and running in your new home will be close at hand and you won’t be pressed for time to unpack.
Hiring a babysitter or asking a family member or friend to watch your kids during the move will make this transition much easier on you and your family. This is crunch time for you, so it can be stressful but also confusing or upsetting to your kids. It’ll be much easier on everyone if you can have someone else watch them for a good chunk of the day. You may also be able to schedule your move while your kids are at school. Let them go to a friend’s house for the afternoon. You can then focus on the move, even for a few hours, and get a lot of the hectic work out of their way while your kids are safe and happy in someone else’s care.
If you’re unable to set up a sitter and will have to watch the kids during move-day, make a quick plan on how to keep them occupied in case you need to set your attention to a moving task. Plan out time for them to watch a movie, place them in a highchair with a time-consuming snack. Keep a few coloring books and crayons unpacked, or a stack of their favorite books so that they can have an out-of-the-way activity while people are moving in and out of the house. Schedule your move during their naptime, or set up some of their favorite toys in a playpen so that they can stay safe, happy, and busy during the move. If your kids are a little older, ask them for their help, but keep a few items from their favorite hobby or activity unpacked so they can break up the long moving day.
Much of parenthood is learning how to care for dependents but also how to humbly and healthily depend on others. Your move is a great time to practice both these things and ask for help. Professional movers can help you get the job done quickly and efficiently, friends can assist with packing, cleaning, loading or unloading, and family can give you support where needed. So don’t hesitate to ask for help during your move. It’s a big job and there are several options that can take some of the weight off your shoulders.
Your move won’t go exactly to plan. Part of what makes moving stressful is the unexpected bumps in the road. But, what you can do to make these bumps as non-jarring as possible is give yourself plenty of time and plan what you can. Create a general schedule to help you stay on course, understanding that you may have to make adjustments along the way. On this general schedule include when you’re planning on packing each room of the house, transferring your utilities, hiring movers, setting up babysitting, transferring your kids to a new school, etc.
Once you’ve written a rough-drafted general schedule, create a more detailed list of what you want to accomplish in the upcoming weekdays. When making these detailed lists and schedules, try to think in terms of 5, 10 or 20-minute increments. For longer tasks, break them down into 5 or 10-minute sub-tasks. This way, you can chip away at your list while you’re kids are, for example, eating breakfast instead of getting involved in a huge project at a bad time.
You will notice when you move how much stuff you have. And you will also realize that you didn’t miss a lot of those things tucked away in closets, attacks, and the garage. Think about how you want your new home to feel, and decide what you want to bring into that home and what should move on to someone else’s. If you do find toys that your kids don’t like anymore, clothes they’ve outgrown or don’t wear, try to box them up for donations discreetly. You can easily slip these unwanted items into a goodwill box for drop off, knowing that your kids will be just as happy with their very favorite toys in the new home. If your kids are a little older, let them go through their own rooms and make two piles – things they have used recently, and things they haven’t. Then go through the pile they haven’t used recently and donate the items that won’t be needed in the future.
Pack a cooler of apples, veggies, yogurts, string cheese, sandwiches, sippy cups, etc. for the kids to grab ready-made instead of asking you to make them a snack while you’re trying to direct move-day. Grab-able snacks in a cooler are a must if you want to stay focused on your move.
But don’t forget that the job of moving isn’t quite done until you’re unpacked. During this process, it’s hard to pause and take the time to cook dinner. As a solution, consider ordering take-out or getting a pizza that first night. You can also, in the time before your move, prepare freezer meals that will save you hours of time once moved in. Easy freezer meals can be prepped as your cooking dinner. Just double the recipe and freeze half! These prepped meals work great with recipes like soups, casseroles, wraps, and burritos, even leftover French toast that you can pop in the toaster for a quick breakfast! If you want to add a special treat for your kids in their new home, prep some cookie dough. You can freeze the cookie dough balls on some parchment paper and then throw them in a freezer bag so you can whip out fresh baked cookies during a fun and relaxing family movie night!
Moving to a new home can be hard and unsettling. As humans, we build attachments to where we’ve lived or places we consider our home. And this place-attachment affects children as well. So add to your general schedule some time to help your kids transition, using the following list for some ideas.
Here’s the thing.
Moving can be stressful. Parenting can be stressful.
Sometimes all you can do let the chaos continue for a brief moment while you close your eyes and walk into another room. In those moments, though, breathe deep. Give yourself the time needed to do this big job.
It can be overwhelming when you’re trying to balance the responsibility of moving and parenting at the same time. Don’t rush or put too much pressure on getting everything done perfectly and on schedule.
Let this be a happy time of change for your family by using the steps above as a guide.
And call Bellhops if you ever need some extra hands.
This article was written by our friends at Abodo. We do encourage these habits and appreciate Sam Radbil for presenting them to our audience.
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