Moving with Kids, from Babies to Teens
Moving with children is a balancing act. On the one hand, you have all the planning to do for the move itself. On the other hand, you have your children’s needs to consider, and those will vary depending on the ages and personalities of your kids.
Using Self Storage
Self storage can help make your move easier in a few ways. It gives you a place to keep packed boxes before moving day, creating more room in the place you’re moving from. This can make it easier to get furniture out of the house and into the truck on the day of your move. Then, you can stop by your storage unit to get the rest.
If you aren’t moving far, perhaps elsewhere in town or in your county, you can keep the storage unit a little longer and bring a car-load of boxes home every few days or every week until you have everything. This spreads the move out over a longer period of time, but eases the stress considerably on moving day, which will be exacerbated by moving with children. Teens can even help you pick up those extra storage boxes.
Make sure you have the right sort of car seat for each child. Babies need a different type of seat than toddlers and kids up to eight years old. Follow the seat instructions to make sure your children are as safe as possible.
Babies need a safe environment and a lot of attention. Make sure that one of the parents or a trusted adult is with the infant at all times. It may seem like they have the easiest job, but this will be the person feeding the baby, changing dirty diapers, and comforting them when they’re upset.
Toddlers and Young Children
Kids up to six years old won’t quite understand what’s happening, and may not quite believe you’re really moving until you’re in the middle of loading the truck. So, starting weeks before the move itself, let them know it’s coming. Tell them a story about what it will be like moving. Explain the steps, how you’ll pack up all your things, then put them in a moving truck, and drive them to your new house. If the new place isn’t too far away, take a drive there to show them where you’ll be living. This is a good idea for older children, too. You can even show them the neighborhood on Google Maps.
A few good books on moving that may help include The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain, The Leaving Morning by Angela Johnson and David Woman, and Goodbye House by Frank Asch. By getting them used to the idea of moving, and that things will be all right, you’ll reduce their stress.
Older Kids to Tweens
It’s tough to leave friends and school, to have to adjust to a new bedroom, a new house, and a new neighborhood. Let your kids from age 6 to 13 know early that you will be moving and let them know they can talk to you about it any time. Be honest about what that means. If you can, make a plan for them to be able to see their friends via Skype or Zoom. For this age range, you’ll want to supervise such sessions, but online playdates are becoming common.
Let them know what will be better at your new location. Will you have a larger home? Perhaps a yard? Maybe you’ll be moving into a place with a swimming pool, or you’ll be closer to the beach and parks. Remind them that they’ll make new friends in a new school, but that they don’t have to give up their old friends during the Internet age.
Teenagers are old enough to take responsibility for aspects of the move. While you’ll get some help from younger kids when it comes to packing their rooms, teens should be able to do most of this themselves. They probably have some close friends by now, but they’re also old enough to get on Facebook and some other social media platforms themselves. You’ll want to keep an eye on this, but you can also remind them that they can keep their friends. This wasn’t easy to do for past generations.
If they have major school events coming, see if you can postpone your move until they’re over. Your teens will appreciate it if they’re able to finish up a sports season, a play, or make it to prom before moving.
On the Trip
Traveling with kids changed dramatically when the Sony Walkman was invented. Each child could listen to his or her own music during the drive. Now, kids have tablets and smartphones and can listen to music, watch movies, and play games. Make sure your kids have something like this to do during the trip.
Also, bring snacks so you don’t have to stop frequently to eat. Manage bathroom breaks wisely, perhaps planning to stop every hour so.
Set Up the Kids’ Rooms
When you get to the new place, set up essential first. That includes the fridge and everyone’s beds. Then, make sure at least some of your kids’ toys are out so they can play with them. Allow your teens to set up their own rooms, but help your younger children.
Once you’re all settled in, you can explore the neighborhood, say hello to neighbors, and find the local parks and shops. Make sure your kids feel like they know their new environment, and it will be easier for them to adjust. Most people in the United States move about 11 times in their lives. By making early moves as pleasant as possible, you help prepare your kids for future moves, too.