Moving is hard enough as it is, but when you add kids to the mix, it can seem like a personal nightmare. Of course you love your children, but with logistics to work out, boxes to label and emotions to sort through, it quickly becomes evident that the term “stress-free moving” is an oxymoron.
That is, of course, unless you have some awesome moving tips from Rent.com, right? Right. If you’re moving with children in the near future, take a deep breath and know that it’s all going to be OK– we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you can do to make the process go smoothly for you and your children.
1. Hold a Family Meeting
The term “family meeting” may sound super official, but all it really means is that you’re gathering all of your kids in one place and sharing the news with them that you’ll be moving. Order their favorite food (pizza, anyone?), make the announcement and let them know that you’ll answer absolutely every question they have.
Share your own feelings about the impending move and encourage them to do the same. Communication is key when making big life changes as a family!
2. Have Them Help You Make the Big Decision
Your kids’ fears may be quelled when you let them know they’ll have a large role to play in helping you find your new digs.
Children are pretty tech-savvy these days (let’s be honest, your 4-year-old can work your smartphone better than you can), so give them some search criteria and have them help you look for apartments on Rent.com. When the time comes, you can even go to showings together so they feel more included in the process.
3. Host a “See You Soon” Party
I moved just once in my childhood (and it was only two blocks), but I remember my biggest fear being that I would never see my friends again. Whether you’re moving down the street or across the country, host a “see you soon” shindig before you leave.
This last hurrah with your friends and neighbors is the perfect opportunity for your kids to say goodbye and exchange addresses with their new pen pals.
4. Let Them Pack a Special Suitcase
However, moving with children can go a little more smoothly if you allow them to pack a special bag filled with their favorite things– things that would likely incite a tantrum if they were left behind. Your kids can bring their bags with them in the car, keeping them occupied and keeping you from panicking that you accidentally left Mr. Snuggles behind.
5. Plan an Epic Road Trip
If your move has you driving to a new city or state, use this opportunity to create some memories and plan an epic road trip with your kids. After all, haven’t you always wanted to see the world’s largest ball of twine (that would be in Cawker City, Kansas) and a life-size chocolate moose (head to Scarborough, Maine)? Yeah, me too.
6. Arrange a Scavenger Hunt
Once you get to your destination and are ready to start the unpacking process, you can keep your kids occupied by sending them on a scavenger hunt. This accomplishes two tasks: It lets your kids explore their new environment in a fun way, and it keeps them out of your hair. Mom and Dad FTW!
7. Allow Them to Decorate Their Rooms
If there was one thing that got me excited as a kid (aside from dessert), it was redecorating my room. Let your kids pick out the paint color for their bedrooms (if your landlord is cool with that), and maybe even allow them to choose new bedspreads. They’ll feel much more comfortable in the new apartment if they can put their own creative stamp on their space.
8. Explore the Neighborhood Together
If you really want to have a stress-free moving experience, take your kids to their new neighborhood before moving day and explore the area together. Scope out the best playgrounds, climbing trees and ice cream shops. Then, by the time you move, the new environment will feel a lot less scary and unfamiliar.
9. Help Them Make New Friends
Showing your kids that they will be able to make new friends can be the most trying aspect of moving with children. Help them get a jump start on the process by signing them up for activities they enjoy where they’ll be likely to meet kids their own age. Nothing breaks the ice like kicking around a soccer ball or participating in a local drama camp!
10. Visit Their New School
If the big move has your kids changing schools, it’s normal for them to be a little nervous. Before their classes start, arrange a time for you to visit the school together and take a tour. That way they’ll know their way around the building on the first day and will be able to focus on making new friends rather than figuring out where the bathroom is.