Moving is usually always a little stressful, but moving with kids can move the entire experience into ‘complete nightmare’ territory. I’ve done it twice, and I quickly learned that while the actual logistics can be stressful, moving with kids doesn’t have to be a horror story. It is an exciting, sweet chapter in your story together. Here are a few tips, tricks, and hacks to preserve the connection with your littles in the midst of the chaos and leave you looking back fondly on the entire experience!
1. Purge, purge, purge!
Before you even get started, before you even think about boxes, tape, or supplies – purge! The less stuff you own, the less stuff you have to move, so this is the ideal time to clean out. Go through your closet and get rid of all the things you haven’t worn lately. Go full-on Marie Kondo and ask yourself if each item in your home really brings you joy. You deserve to be surrounded by things that make you feel more than “meh”. While you’re culling down your possessions, encourage your kids to do the same. Let them know that there is only a finite amount of space in the moving vehicle or at the new home, and encourage them to gather together things they have outgrown, toys they no longer play with, books you may have multiples of, etc. If time and your stress level allows, sell the items and put their profits into a savings account, or save the profits to spend later once you’re settled into the new home.
Image: Gameday Moving Services
2. Get some help
If it’s in the budget, I cannot stress enough the benefits of hiring a moving company. Having someone else come in and do the heavy lifting frees up so much more of your time that you can spend focusing on your family and making the transition a smooth one. If you’re in Houston, give Gameday Moving Services Houston a shout! This Houston long-distance moving company can help with furniture disassembly/reassembly, art and antique moving, cleaning services, home staging and more.
3. Get them involved
It is a truth universally acknowledged: little kids love helping. Even if their version of helping is usually wildly different than your version of helping, put that willingness and endless supply of energy to good use! Assign them age appropriate responsibilities (i.e. give your toddler a medium sized box and have them pack their stuffed animals and soft toys). Encourage them to come back to you as they complete each task, and sometimes in between, because we all know how easy it is to get distracted and fall down the rabbit hole of things you haven’t seen in a while.
If you have older kids, you know they’re mostly capable of packing their own things. It’s their willingness and initiative that needs some work. Resist the urge to hover and helicopter, Mom, even if their system (or lack thereof) makes your eye twitch. Give your bigs their independence and the freedom to pack their own things. It will help them feel like they have some control over the move, and it’s one less thing off of your check list.
4. Make it fun!
Mary Poppins was totally onto something when she said, “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.” Take turns dunking their non-fragile items in a box in the middle of the room, or have a race to see who can transfer their folded clothes from the drawer to the box the fastest while still keeping them neat and folded. At the very least, crank the tunes and family dance party it out. Packing doesn’t have to be a chore!
5. Talk it out
When I’m stressed, I tend to be irritable and snappish and I’m not proud to tell you that my kids often get the brunt of that. I’ve gotten pretty good at the parental walk of shame to apologize. Take breaks often and use them to stay connected to your tiny humans. Moving can be stressful and emotional for them too. Reminisce about all the sweet memories made in the space you’re leaving, and look forward to all the new memories to be made in the new space. Ask questions about what they’re looking forward to most. Let them plan how to arrange their room. This is a good opportunity to take the profits from selling their old things and use it to redecorate their new space in the new house, if they’d like. Mostly, just let them experience the full range of emotions from sadness to uncertainty to excitement, and allow yourself to do the same.
6. Label, label, label!
I cannot stress this enough. Be super specific on your boxes. I’ve found that just labeling them by room isn’t good enough for me, especially since I tend to be a bit of a lazy unpacker. I like a detailed list of contents so I can quickly find what I’m looking for. These QR labels let you itemize the contents of each tote or box, and I’m pretty sure that’s what moving and storage dreams are made of.
7. Plan ahead
Whether you’re just going across the yard (which is what we did in our last move) or across the country, when it comes time to hit pause for the night and get some rest, I can promise that you won’t want to be digging through boxes and itemized lists to find your nightly essentials. Pack a backpack or tote for each person that contains toiletries and at least one change of clothes, if not more (like I said, lazy unpacker). Also include your little one’s favorite blanket or comfort item. Show yourself some love by packing a book or some form of entertainment until you can get things more squared away. Put sheets, blankets, and pillows in a box that rides with you to help make bedtime smooth sailing when exhaustion hits.
Don’t let the stress of moving derail such an exciting time in your family’s life. Welcome home!