Preparing your child for a move. (Part 1 of 2: Before you leave.)

We’re moving. In a week & a half. Yikes!

Since that’s what’s on my mind right now, & since lots of people move during the summer, I thought I’d offer a few tips for helping your kids adjust to moving to a new place. Today I’m posting on how to prepare for the move itself; later I’ll post on how to settle in.

  • Show your kids photos of your new home & new town. Help them find reasons to be excited about the new place. The Munchkin is especially excited to be near the beach.
  • If you are packing yourself, START EARLY. Last year, with a husband taking law school finals, I started packing two months in advance while The Munchkin napped. There’s only so much you can pack that far ahead of time (you’re using everything else too frequently), but it really helps as you get down to the wire. It also helps your 10-month-old skip crawling in favor of cruising, because there are handholds everywhere!
  • Also if you are packing yourself, don’t pay for boxes! I had hoarded diapers.com boxes for months. Any time you get a package, collapse the box right away & stash it in a closet. Another great resource for free packing boxes is liquor stores; just go in & ask for some of their beer boxes. They’re the perfect size & durability for books & other heavy things. The people helping you move in might look at you a little funny though…
  • If your firm is paying for movers, PRAISE HEAVEN. The end.
  • Try to keep pictures up on the walls as long as possible. Even if there are boxes everywhere, having these familiar touches will help keep home feeling like home right up until you move.
  • Moving is a time-consuming process. Even if you’re not having to pack everything yourself, there are still things like getting a place to live, arranging for utilities on both ends, forwarding mail, etc. Kids can feel neglected; take a few minutes every day to just listen to them & give them your undivided attention. Even better, let them choose something special to do to take some time away from moving. This brings me to…
  • Have a “bucket list” of one thing each family member wants to do in your old town before you leave. This will help everyone feel valued (see above) & let all of you “say goodbye.” The Munchkin really wanted to go on the “mewwy-woun.” We’re also planning final visits to Magnolia & Shake Shack.
  • If you have time, throw a goodbye party with friends! Or let a friend throw one for you! That way everyone can say goodbye at once.
  • Speaking of friends, explain to your kids that they won’t get to see their friends all the time anymore. Let them know it’s okay to be sad & miss them, but encourage them by saying that they’ll be able to make new friends in your new town.
  • Explain the moving process to young kids: “A man will pack up your toys & clothes & put them in a big truck (bonus points for showing them the truck if they love trucks) & drive it to our new house! We’re going to drive separately in the car, & our things will meet us there!” {We just had a Family Home Evening about moving, where we talked about Nephi’s family in the Book of Mormon & how they moved to a new place too, & they packed up all of their things as well (see 1 Nephi 18:5-6). After we explained the process, we did the activity below.}
  • Parents magazine just had an article about helping kids adjust to moving, & one thing I thought was a great idea was to let your child decorate her own “treasure box” with stickers to put her favorite things inside. Then take it with you in the car so she isn’t separated from it. Here’s The Munchkin’s treasure box; the first thing she did was put in the 3-inch plastic Woody & Jessie dolls that go with her everywhere lately.
  • MAKE SURE THE LOVEY DOESN’T GET PACKED. IT GOES IN THE CAR. THE END.
  • Lastly, take a minute to say goodbye to your old house. (This was another Parents idea.) During your last meal there, likely on paper plates in your empty house, let each family member say his or her favorite memory of living there. Get your kids excited about making new memories!

Any other tips for moving with kids?

works for me wednesday at we are that family

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8 Comments

Filed under Activities, Adventures in Mommydom

8 responses to “Preparing your child for a move. (Part 1 of 2: Before you leave.)

  1. These are great tips. And not just for kids, for adults too! I remember trying to do a few of these things several years ago when we moved from our condo to our current home. And that was only 20 minutes away! It still seemed impossible. I hear you on the lovey though. If it were me, I’d find myself overtaking the moving truck to get that blankie out of a box. Let’s not even think about that!

  2. Natalie Hoch

    A little advice from someone who has 4 kids and has moved 17 times in 17 years of marriage…when you get to your new place, set up Munchkin’s room first. It will take a little work to find her things, but for her to have her bed and toys ready to go ASAP will make a big difference.

  3. vblanchard

    We’re moving in 3.5 weeks, no movers like last time, alas! Great tips. I really need to do some of these to help Katie prepare. I have decided to make packing her room (other than stuff in her closet she never sees) a last minute job so that she has that security as long as possible. However, I take my pictures off the wall with the pack-early stuff. It actually helps me detach emotionally from my old home and then when I’m in my new home, I’m so excited to see my pictures again, it helps me feel that homey feeling right away.
    You can also get boxes on Craigslist (or if you’re lucky like me, from a friend who recently moved!).

    • Bethany Reese

      Good to know…we move on Monday. I am in the panic stage…we only have a few days left and I still have so much to pack! I really miss the company packers we had last move…this time we opted to do it ourself and keep the difference…now I’m not so sure the extra cash is worth it:) Good luck with your move!

  4. Laura

    Thanks for all the tips! You gave us some great ideas – like the FHE lesson and the box for their own things. And yes, we are praising heaven that we don’t have to pack ourselves. 🙂 Mike and I both started crying when we read the last comment about saying goodbye to our old home. We are soooo not ready for that yet!

  5. We’ve moved a few times….. and these are all GREAT suggestions! Best wishes for a wonderful move. Can’t wait to hear all about your new home!!!!

  6. These are such great tips! You are an amazing mom!!!

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