If you are anything like me, the thought of moving makes you want to break out in hives. The packing, the unpacking, the living among boxes, not remembering which box you put the toilet paper in… Switching locations, near or far, is stressful no matter how you do it. Add small kids in the mix, and it takes things to a whole other level of crazy.
Our family is currently in the middle of our third move in three years. Yes, you read that right. We sold a house, moved cross-country and now purchased a house. Some day my great-grandchildren will be coming to visit me in our newest house. I have no intentions of touching packing tape for a very, very long time.
I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way when it comes to dealing with such a big transition and kids. Our four-year-old is not a big fan of change, so we do what we can to ease the process for him.
Get feedback from your kids. You do not have to put all of their suggestions into action, but most of the time they just want their voices heard. Once we had access to our new home, I narrowed my four-year-old son’s options to two bedrooms and let him pick the one he wanted. Now, every time we go to the new house, he is excited about his room. We have also been in the process of having the interior of the house painted. I asked my son what his thoughts were on paint colors. He said that we should paint all of the house “danger red.” While I am fairly certain that we will not be going in that aesthetic direction, his input was appreciated and he was happy that he got to put his contribution out there. He even picked a few samples at the hardware store.
Have the kids help pack. I do not recommend putting your toddler, fine china and a moving box in the dining room and hoping for the best. While it might take some more time on your end, group some non-breakable items together, find an appropriate size box and give your kiddo the task of getting the items packed up. I did this with our DVDs. My four-year-old did a great job of getting them all in the box and called me over to tape it up when he was done. One less thing for me to put in a box and he enjoyed the task.
Use the transition to make some fun changes. My son has had a fire truck-themed room for the past few years. We are using the move into the new house to change the theme to Star Wars (his choice). He helped pick out the bedding and some wall art. He is excited for his new space and will talk about it with anyone who will listen! Case in point: My apologies to the cashier at Sprouts who got an earful about Stormtrooper bed sheets.
Include kids in the purging process. When we move, I tried to lighten the load. We sorted through our belongings and made some clothing and housewares donations. Go ahead and take the opportunity to donate toys too! I have asked my son for his help in choosing toys that he doesn’t play with anymore so that someone else can play with them. He happily agreed.
Make the new location appealing. I know that not everyone has this option, but in the event you are in between locations for a bit, take some fun items and snacks to the new house to encourage the kids to want to be there. The Easter Bunny recently brought our kids some plasma cars, which were a huge hit. Those now are “new house only toys,” and the kids love riding around the empty house with no furniture in the way! I also keep some of their favorite snacks over there to entice them as well. Between the cars and the snacks, they stay occupied for just long enough to allow me to unpack a few boxes on each visit. It is a win-win since I feel productive and they have a blast!