MOVING WITH KIDS
When I moved with my (then) 3 year old and 10 month old eleven years ago, I swore I would never do it again! While they were awfully cute back then, moving with them at those ages caused me to just about lose my mind. As I relayed my experience in passing at the office, we all agreed our clients and friends could benefit from my mistakes and misadventures of moving with kids. So, here goes!
Soon after our daughter was born, we realized that our children could not share their tiny bedroom for long. We also knew we had to start thinking about elementary school options, which was quickly approaching. So we made a local move from our starter townhouse in a commuter neighborhood to a single family home in a very family-friendly neighborhood. While we only moved 20 minutes away, it was quite the ordeal. Here are some tips and lessons learned to make your time moving with kids just a little bit easier…
BEFORE THE MOVE
- Document and celebrate the home you are leaving. While my husband and I have many fond memories of our first home, our kids don’t really have any. So be sure to take pictures of the home (inside and out) that you are leaving, especially if your children are very young. Consider having some sort of farewell party leading up to the move, so the kids (and parents!) can say a proper goodbye to the house, neighborhood, and cherished friends.
- Try to introduce your children to their new house and neighborhood well in advance of your actual move. Take some trips to the new place and scope out local shops, parks, and kid- friendly destinations. When we moved, the whole family went to the home inspection (don’t worry – the kids didn’t stay long). While my husband toured the home with the inspector, I took the kids to the neighborhood playground, where I got talking to another mom, with kids almost the exact same ages as mine. Turns out, our three year olds were signed up for same preschool class! This lovely, welcoming woman soon became one of my closest neighborhood friends.
- Assign age-appropriate moving chores/tasks to your children. Younger children can pack up their toys and stuffed animals. Elementary school aged kids can label boxes. Have older children get online and research options for their sports and activities near your new home.
- When packing, use different colors (use each child’s favorite color for all of their items/boxes), labels, and even picture labels This way, the little ones can stay organized and perhaps even put things away themselves, which will in turn take a bit of the stress off the parents.
- Help your children become invested in their new home. Allow them to choose their bedrooms (well, maybe) and paint colors (within reason!). If you need a playset for your new yard or perhaps you finally have space for that trampoline or air hockey table, allow them to help you shop for them. Involve your kids in setting up their playroom or space.
- When packing, make sure all boxes are clearly labeled — especially the kids’ items and clothes, as those items will be the first boxes you will want once in the your new home. Use this packing time as an opportunity to PURGE. Moving is a fabulous time to say goodbye to any outgrown toys and clothes. Donate any duplicate household items and/or things that do not have a place in your new home. If your child is close to outgrowing a big item like an exersaucer or changing table, use the move as an opportunity to give it away.
- Pack a small travel bag for each child as if you are going away for a weekend. Ensure you have everything you need for two full days (think diapers, favorite toys, sippy cups, cherished books, go-to outfits/PJs/shoes and any needed formula or medicines). With this bag, you won’t need to hunt through countless boxes for what you need right away.
THE ACTUAL MOVE
- Rule #1 – ENLIST HELP! If you have local family members, ask them to help you at least the day of the actual move. If possible, secure help for other days before and after moving day for the (un)packing process. If you don’t have family nearby that can help, ask some close friends to pitch in. Barter childcare if need be! My mother came up from Florida to help during our move and I am eternally grateful to her. She was a tremendous help in keeping the kids occupied and entertained while my husband and I hauled boxes and unpacked.
- If at all possible, spread out your move over a few days. As soon as you settle and have your keys, make some pre-move trips to the new house. Bring any items you can carry and live without for a few days. Perhaps aim to have one room completely set up before the move itself. It will make the actual moving day that much easier and quicker.
- Pack a cooler of cold drinks and healthy, kid-friendly snacks to help fortify the whole family throughout the day. You will not want to run to your new grocery store with kids in tow in the middle of all the chaos.
- Once you are in the new home and unpacked, save at least a few of your larger moving boxes. They make fabulous forts and spaceships to be played in during those early days in the new house. Allow your kids to decorate them with paint and markers to give you some quiet and/or unpacking time.
- One of the biggest hassles I recall from our move was transferring / setting up our utilities. Granted, our move was in the days before iPhones, so I had to make all of these calls from our chaotic new home with two small children underfoot. In hindsight, I should have delegated this task to my husband, who could have more easily handled all of the calls and emails from his office.
One of my fond memories of this move was when we were brought a pitcher of cold lemonade (much needed on a sweltering July day!) and some fresh bread by various new neighbors. We were so touched by the kind gestures; they seemed to make the pain of the move lessen significantly. We knew right away we had landed in the perfect neighborhood for us. The good news is that we feel just as strongly 11 years later.
The Goodhart Group wants to make your move, whether you are moving with kids or without kids, as smooth as possible. If we can provide you with information on anything related to your move, please contact us!
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