Summer is finally here! For families, it’s the most popular time to move to a new home. School’s out. Moving boxes out. Let the chaos of summer schedules and the cardboard box explosion in your home begin. If there is any comfort in togetherness, nearly 40 million of us move in the summer. Don’t feel alone, we’re here to guide you!
It’s no secret, no one likes to move and that includes your kids. Moving is one of the most stressful times in life, and it brings lots of change. For your kids, it means making new friends, and maybe, adjusting to a new school. If you have a little mover in tow, moving your home certainly adds to the baby adventures!
Here’s the good news, if you plan ahead and take simple steps the trek through the moving process will become a walk in the park (well, maybe not, but it can be a manageable stroll up hill.) Way before you break out those cardboard boxes, use these pointers to help your kids, toddlers, and babies get through the moving process.
Here are four steps to a successful move with a young family. It’s all about: timing, transition, getting the kids involved, and an adjustment period.
First, consider the timing of your move, this is probably the most important element:
- What grades are your children in? If your eldest is about to be a senior in high school, it may be best to let them live with a trusted relative to finish up high school with their friends. If your youngest is about to enter middle school, this is an ideal time to move since they will be entering a new school either way. Is school on a break? Much better to time a move with kids when school’s out.
- Babies and kids love and need their routine. Don’t let the moving to-do list and packing get in the way of your regular daily routine. Instead of pulling an all-nighter to pack, try to pack over a long period of time. Use nap time and baby’s early bedtime to get packing done in bits. Baby & parents need their sleep!
Next, make the transition into the new home as easy as possible for your kids and little ones. Try these tips to make the transition a smooth one:
- Make the new home the kids’ own. Allow them to walk through the new house before the move. Let them feel that they are part of the decision. Allow them (as much as possible) to choose their own bedroom, paint colors (“Here, let’s pick the paint color for your new room: which do you choose between these two.”), and play the imagination game with them: “Let’s imagine what this room will be like when it’s yours? Where will your stuffed animals go? Where will the bed go?” etc.
- In the old house, talk about how their favorite toys, games, etc. are going to be in the new house too. This is not the time to clean out the closet and discard unwanted clothes and toys. You don’t want your kids associating loss with the move. If you need to de-clutter your kid’s room, do that way before the subject of the move comes up. De-cluttering is an excellent pre-move activity and really doesn’t have to involve the word “moving” at all.
- TALK and LISTEN to your kids. Ask them what they are excited about and what things they are going to miss. Address their concerns: “What are we going to do about that? How about…”
- During the actual moving day, when boxes and furniture are being moved, little ones should be somewhere else. Ask a trusted babysitter, friend or family member to take your kids and bundle of joy for the day. It is also ideal to use childcare for days leading up to your move so you can get more done on your moving calendar. There are great nanny and babysitting services that help you find qualified childcare.
- Stay connected to friends, neighbors and family back home. Arrange facetime appointments with the children’s friends before you move to the new home, it will help make the transition easier when they know they can keep in touch with their old friends. And, set up a play date for the old friends to come over for a sleep over.
3: Involve Your Kids
There is no easier way to keep kids happy than giving them a feeling of control – get them involved!
- Have them arrange their own room. Draw out a floor plan of the rooms in the new house and let the children make paper doll furniture and arrange what they want in their room.
- Encourage your kids to pack themselves so they are involved in the moving process. They can have their own boxes and suitcases that they are responsible for. Give them color codes or fun stickers to stick on their boxes that belong in their room. You can oversee this. But, give them one box to pack freely with the stuff they want, it will be the first box they open in their new room.
- Give each child a backpack to fill with overnight items so you don’t have to dig through boxes. Include their toothbrush, pjs, stuffed animal, favorite bedtime story, remember to put the children’s medications in mommy’s purse or back pack for safe keeping.
- Pack a baby bag with all of your needs for three days. If you’re moving a long distance, you may want at least one month of supplies with you rather than on the moving truck. Once you move into your new place, you may not have easy access to diapers, baby food, pacifiers and the all important security blanket, you’ll be happy that you know just where to look for those items.
Lastly, is the adjustment to the new home and neighborhood. It’s an extremely important phase of a move, because it sets the stage for your new life in your new home. Here are suggestions to make the adjustment period a great one:
- When moving in, set up the nursery first. This will allow you to easily change your baby’s clothes and diapers. You’ll have a nice space for that first bedtime story when you put them to sleep on the first night in your new home. Arrange the nursery as closely as possible to your previous nursery. The familiarity will help you and your baby in the transition.
- Host a party in your new neighborhood and invite children of the same age as your own kid(s) over so that they can make new friends. It’s as easy as a pool party, pizza party, or cookout. Try to host the party the first weeks of being in your new home.
- Take them for a drive by their new school, the local ice cream place, playground, if they have a hobby such as dancing, show them that there is a dance studio here too, so they can see their new neighborhood has all the same things as the old.
- Set up a tour of the new school and to meet their new teacher before school starts.
If you move in the beginning of the summer, sign them up for camp or other local activities where they can meet new kids before school starts. It also keeps them out of the house so you can continue the unpacking!
By making your move follow these four stages, your next chapter in your new home will start out with ease, giving every member of your family time to make the new house home. Wishing you and your family happiness in your new home! And if you’re moving to the Big Apple, you’ll need to know what to eat in New York on moving day.
This is a guest post from NorthStar Moving co-founder Laura McHolm. Laura is an organizational, moving, and storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.