The next time you’re at home, take a look around you. Take in all of your furniture, your belongings. All of the surfaces, the windows, and the doors. All the things you love, and maybe even the couple of things you don’t. This is your home. If you have children and have any interest in maintaining your sanity, you should probably consider this your home until they fly the nest, at least.
Melodrama aside, it’s no secret that moving with kids is hard. Aside from the absurd amount of stuff that little people seem to amass, and the extra pairs of helpful hands that are, well, really not that helpful, you’ve also got to factor in their opinions and reactions to their new home, and the move in general. We’re big believers that with a positive attitude and a bit of preparation, even the most daunting of tasks can be made possible and, dare we say it, even a little bit fun. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to make this move a breeze for everyone in your family, no matter how small.
- Do your research. Check out your new neighbourhood before your move, or do a thorough Google search to find things your kids will love, be it a great playground, a nice library, or some other kid-friendly places to hang out. It will help you sell the new area to them and, as a bonus, will give little ones a chance to find some local friends fast.
- Let your kids have a say. Okay, you’re going to want the final word on where you live, but it will help your kids feel they have a sense of ownership over the new place if you give them a chance to voice their opinions. If it’s practical, bring them along to house viewings, or at least show them some photos online. You never know, they may even spot the potential—or a potential problem—that you missed.
- Get them involved. Even the littlest kids can help throw things in (or out) of a box. Save yourself a headache and give them the job of packing Tupperware or clothes, rather than something that needs to be handled with care. Older children can help organize their rooms, stack shelves, or even lift a few of the lighter boxes. As with everything with kids, it might take a little bit more time, but it’ll help them feel part of the move and keep them out of trouble. Win-win.
- Give them (some) creative reign over their space. How much is up to you and probably depends on the age of your kids, but this could be as simple as asking your toddler what pictures they would like on their walls, to giving your teenager a budget within which they can buy paint or decorative items. It’ll give them a sense of ownership over their new room, and hopefully something to get excited about!
- Pack without your kids. Make the most of any time they’re at their grandparent’s house, at school, playing with friends, sleeping, or basically doing anything that will stop them from taking everything out of the box you just put things in. This is especially true if you’re planning on using the opportunity to purge some of their stuff; long-forgotten toys are never more exciting than when they’re on their way out.
- Give yourself loads of time. Think about how long it took you to move into your current place sans kids. Double that. And, if you’ve got the time, double it again. You know how long it takes to get out of the door for the day with all of your little ones? Now imagine you’re taking all of your things with you. Yeah. Loads of time.
- Don’t forget to say goodbye. Not only should you give your kids (and yourself!) a chance to say goodbye to friends, but remember to say goodbye to your town, to your neighborhood, and to your home. See this as a last-chance saloon for checking out all of the hotspots your city has to offer that you’ve never quite made it to, as well as an opportunity to double-check you have everyone’s contact details for later. Saying goodbye to the place you’ve been calling home, no matter how long or short, will help your kids get a sense of closure and understand that this move is for real.
- Focus on the positives. Not every move is a happy one (though we hope yours is!), but regardless of how you feel towards the move or the new place, focus on the positives. Talk about the new garden, how close you’ll be to family, or all of the amazing new adventures you’ll be able to have. Find the magic in your new home and make that be what you show your kids.
- Label like your life depends on it. Make sure each box is marked with not only the room it’s going into, but also a brief summary of what’s inside the box. Sounds obsessive, sure, but when your kid is screaming because they can’t find the toy / book / outfit they’re looking for, you’ll be glad you did it.
- Have fun! Don’t forget that this is an adventure. It’s new and exciting, and your kids will look to you to show them that. Give yourself a minute to build a fort out of the mountain of boxes you’re sure to have, or show your little ones the joy of popping bubble wrap.
So, go on. Grab your nearest card board box. Load up on the packing tape, and think of all the wonderful memories to be made in your new home. You’ve got this!
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