By KyAnn Lewis, GalTime.com
Over the past several years, I’ve done a lot of moving for work. After several lengthy moves, I now have a pretty good system for organizing, packing and labeling, but, regardless, it’s still stressful. Our past two moves have been THE MOST stressful for me because we moved with a small child.
Most families tend to move in the summer months. Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, it can be hard on your kids and the whole family. Although we have no plans to move again anytime soon, I thought I’d share some of what I learned, in hopes it might make things a little easier for other moms. Also, in order to give you the best advice, I’ve consulted with some other “moms on the move,” too.
stressful things leading up to the move:
Packing With The Kids In The House
Irene Wieder just packed up for a cross-country move from Florida to Montana. She said one of her biggest challenges was trying to get work done with a one-year-old in the house, “Every time I pack a box Seth is right there to unpack it for me. I must have repacked boxes at least three times.” I agree that this can be really tough. If a friend or family offers to help – see if they’ll babysit. If that’s not an option, hire a babysitter or drop-in childcare service. You’ll be glad you spent the money when you see how much work you can really get done.
Figuring Out What To Leave Unpacked
As a military wife, Angel Tucker has moved a bunch. She says that one of the big stresses is, “Trying to figure out what to leave unpacked and what to pack up! As soon as you think you have left everything out that you need, you will end up needing something that’s in the one box you can’t find!” Angel has a system of leaving notes taped on the doors of each room that keep track of what NOT to pack.
Figuring Out Where You’ll Live/Send Your Kids To School
This may not be an issue for those of you moving across town – or who buy a home before they move, but in my last two moves we stayed in corporate housing while we searched for permanent housing. It was reassuring knowing we’d have a place to land once we arrived in town, but it was stressful not knowing where we’d be months later. We also had to research and make childcare arrangements from afar. Let me tell you: not ideal! I turned to friends who knew people in the Orlando area. I asked them for advice on schools and daycares and started my research weeks before we moved here.
in advance of the move, you should…
Tell The Kids ASAP & Get Them Excited
Sabrina McGuire has three boys. Her oldest son is only nine-years-old and he’s already moved six times! She says, “My advice is to tell your kids as soon as you know for sure that you are moving. They need the time, so they will be ready when moving day comes. Be positive and excited about the move and they will be, too. We get on the Internet and look at pictures of the area we are moving to. It’s fun to make plans of all the fun things we are going to do once we get moved.”
Angel Tucker says, “Let them know what to expect and what to look forward to in the new location. Show them pictures of where they will live, talk about how you will decorate their new room, show them on a map where you are going and let them choose what favorite toys can make the trip in the car with you!”
Take Photos of Your Current House
Amy Kossoff is the mother of three boys and Founder of The MomTini Lounge. She’s had to move her family and has a great idea. She says, “Take a video and photo tour of the old house, and keep it! We love to look back at our old house — and it really makes everyone appreciate the new one when they see that they have more space to play, etc.”
Get Kids Involved in Helping
For older kids, get them involved in the process. Laura McHolm, organizational expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving says, “Encourage your kids to pack themselves so that they are involved in the moving process. They can have their own boxes and suitcases that they are responsible for. Give them color codes or fun stickers to stick on the boxes that belong in their room. You can oversee this.”
Don’t Be Dismissive Of Their Feelings
Moms and experts agree that it’s important that you listen to your kids and not tell them how to feel about a move. I consulted with Dr. Richard Horowitz, a Parenting Coach and author of Family Centered Parenting. Dr. Horowitz says, “First and foremost is to listen to the children and validate their concerns and fears. Keep in mind that for children a change in home and school is a threat to their fundamental sense of security and safety.” He adds, “There are real losses associated with a move. Leaving a home coupled with the separation from friends and neighbors are legitimate losses that must be acknowledged. Effective listening provides an opportunity for these feelings to be expressed and heard.” We received similar advice form Kat Eden at education.com. She says, “Honestly acknowledge the difficulty of the situation. Nothing will make your child feel more alone than having you minimize or ignore the challenges of moving to a new school.”
during the move
Moving day arrives … then what? Sabrina McGuire recommends, “Before the movers come to pack us we make sure the boys have a few special things (favorite book, toys and blanket) to take with us.”
Angel Tucker likes to come up with “road games” as her family makes the trek to their new home – like looking for license plates from every state. She also packs surprise bags and a new DVD.
Laura McHolm suggests, “Wrap things you were going to give to your children anyway like books with car games, deck of cards, sticker books, puzzle books, joke books, reading books, crayola crayons, fun masks, etc. When you make stops along your route place the presents on the kids’ seats. When they come back to the car they will have an exciting gift to unwrap and play with!”