Moving with Kids Doesn’t Have to be Scary

By Hayli Morrison

Moving is traumatic. It’s a hair-pulling, tantrum-inducing, up-all-night, hot ball of stress – and that’s just for the adults. For children, this is magnified times a thousand. Particularly when moving to an unfamiliar town and entirely new set of friends, there will be insecurities which can make children behave differently. On move day, they may have questions – a lot of questions – and they may even demand your attention at the exact moment when you are absolutely unable to give it. So, what can you do? If your kids are old enough to talk through their feelings, that can help. If you are able to hire a reliable babysitter for move day, that can help even more. But for the rest of us who don’t see these as really viable options, read on for activities to keep the kids busy during your move.

1. Send them packing

Ultimately, kids really just want to be involved. It makes them feel more useful, respected, secure and helpful. And although it seems contrary at times to their actual behavior, kids really do like to help. Letting them pack up their own room might not be the most helpful of helpful measures, but it will keep them busy and make them feel like they are in control of something while contributing to the family cause.

2. Clean machine

Even if it’s just sweeping with a broom and dusting cobwebs from the corners, let children help you clean the house. Again, it may not be up to your standards, but it will empower and occupy them for a good while.

3. Pack a survival kit

Make sure you have a “kid kit” packed with plenty of snacks, toiletry items, books, portable handheld DVD or video game players, etc. This will ensure your kids have a go-to activity when all else fails. You might even include a camera so they can document move day and put together a scrap book later on, which can be therapeutic for emotional stress.

4. Take advantage of birth order

Do you have older children capable of helping watch younger children? Take advantage of that! You might even offer ice cream or some other reward to the older children for their help. As with any activity your children assist in, be sure to thank them for their help and praise their good work.

5. Learn new games

Particularly for long-distance moves, this can be an opportunity to introduce new road trip games, which can carry over to fun outside the car once you’ve arrived at your new home. Think along the lines of “I Spy” or “Who Am I?” where players guess an object within plain view or guess a person’s identity solely based on a description of characteristics.

6. Take breaks

The idea of taking breaks might seem impossible on move day, but it’s important. It provides parents time to focus solely on the children and answer their questions. It also allows parents the opportunity to regroup in order to maintain the crucial upbeat, calm mentality.

Remember:

Kids feed off parental stress. So sit down, take a load off – even if you have to take turns and schedule breaks in shifts. This simple act alone will dramatically lower the overall stress of move day.