Moving is already stressful. Adding frustrated or bored kids who are trying to cope with change can be a recipe for disaster, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By helping your kids view moving with a positive attitude, they’ll not only have an easier time, but their high spirits and abundant energy can help make moving more fun and pleasant for you, too.
Talk to Them about MovingKids have their own concerns, fears, and questions about moving to a new place. It’s hard for anybody to accept something in which they have no choice or leave behind the familiar, and children are no exception.
Giving them something to look forward to in the new location can ease the transition. Sign them up for a class where they can practice their favorite hobby. Show them pictures of local parks and attractions and promise to take them there once you’re settled in. Get them excited about decorating their new bedroom. The adjustment will take time, but helping them look forward to moving will make a difference.
Turn Packing into a Game
- Are you familiar with the “going on a picnic” game? If not, read the rules of the game. You can easily adapt them to packing boxes. For older kids, challenge them to remember everything that’s going into a box and repeat it back to you before they can add something else. Younger kids who have more trouble with remembering long lists can simply name an item that begins with the first letter of their name.
- Task your kids with organizing all the items in the house by category. For younger kids, challenge them to find and stack all of their clothing, toys, and books in a pile. Older kids can organize in more detail, separating types and seasons of clothes and grouping things of similar weight and size together.
- Let your kids decorate the boxes and create elaborate labels using stickers, markers, and crayons. You’ll get a smile on your face with every box you pick up and move as you admire their creative handiwork, and the back of your moving truck will look like an art gallery.
Make the Car Ride Fly By
- Music and car games will sustain your kids for an hour or two, but once boredom sets in you’ll have to endure a never-ending chorus of “Are we there yet?” Making the back seat comfortable with pillows and blankets and loading it with snacks will help keep the crankiness level low.
- With audio books, children will be able to follow longer stories above their reading level, and they won’t get car sick from reading paper books.
- Bring sleeping masks and ear plugs along for light sleepers (beware of the choking hazard for younger kids). If you’re lucky enough, your kids might pass part of the time by napping.
Help Kids Settle In
- Give them some independence about how their bedroom is organized. This will make unpacking and putting things away more fun and will motivate them to keep the room neater. With some guidance, let them decide how to decorate their room.
- On the first night at the new house, bring everyone’s mattress into the living room or another communal area so the whole family can “camp” together. This will make it easier for your children to tolerate new sounds at night.
- Let the kids get creative with the leftover boxes. They can make rocket ships, castles, masks, and even decorations for their rooms out of cardboard.
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