Moving is already complicated. When you add kids to the mix, it can be downright harrowing regardless of how old they are. Whether you have a toddler, tween, or teenager, moving can be emotionally draining on everyone regardless of if you’re moving across the country or the next town over. Luckily, there are a couple of steps you can take to make the move easier on your kids. Of course, every child and family situation is different, but the below tips can make relocating easier for the entire family.
Talk to Your Kids About Moving
Unless your child is still a baby, you should have an age-appropriate conversation with them to explain why you’re moving. Toddlers might not need to know all the details, but they should still be informed. Maybe you’re moving for work or perhaps you’re moving to be closer to friends and family. Whatever the reason, it’s better to let them know as soon as possible. After all, children seem to have a sixth sense when the household vibe shifts. Plus, it will be difficult to hide things like packing supplies and moving boxes!
At your next family meeting, include the topic of moving to the agenda. Moving is a big change for kids, especially if they’re already in school so they might need some time to absorb the news and process the information. Try to give them a bit of space in the beginning as their entire world has just changed. Some kids might take the news in stride, of course, but make sure to check-in periodically during the days leading up to the move to make sure they’re okay.
Get Them Involved
Sure, your kids might not be able to veto the move, but they can at least be involved in the process. Whether you’ve already closed on a new home or not, there are plenty of ways you can get them involved in the process. This will give them a sense of empowerment and make the move more attractive as they’ll be helping with the decision. Of course, their level of involvement depends on their age and their enthusiasm. However, even if they’re not particularly excited about a move, you can still get them involved by doing the following:
- Give them a vote when looking for a new home. They might not want to spend days looking at homes in person, but many will be more than happy to look at online photos and point out specific amenities they want like their own bedroom, a backyard, a pool, etc. Take their opinions into consideration when making your final choice.
- Take them on shopping trips. While younger kids might not enjoy trips to the hardware store, they may like going shopping for fun stuff like decorations, new furniture, and the like. You can also help them decide on the look of their new bedroom by choosing paint colors, pillowcases, toys, etc.
- Let them pack their room. Giving your kids ownership of their part of the move can help them feel like part of the process. Of course, the tasks you give them should be age appropriate. For toddlers, you might simply ask them to pack their toys in boxes. Teenagers, on the other hand, can pack their room by themselves.
Research New Schools Early
Switching schools is a big deal for kids. They’ll have to make new friends, deal with new teachers, and figure out the rules of the new school. It’s one of the biggest changes for your kid and the older they are, the harder the transition can be. While your child will likely feel anxious regardless of how much research you do, the more they know the better! Compile a little report of everything you know about the school and include things like photos, school mascot, colors, extracurricular activities, distance from your new house, etc. For yourself, you should also see if there’s a parent group for the schools where you can ask questions about bullying, school policies, and so on.
After you’ve done that, see if you can schedule some time before the move for an orientation. While you can’t control when you need to make a move, you would ideally move during the summer to avoid mid-year transfer. That way, your child can also check out the school during the summer and potentially get a walk-through from the guidance counselor, principal, or vice principal and get any lingering questions they might have answered.
Check Out the New Neighborhood
If you’re moving for work, see if you can negotiate a visit to the new area as part of your relocation package and take your child(ren) along. You can use this time to explore the neighborhood and find kid-friendly places such as parks, playgrounds, nearby restaurants, and so on. If your child is younger, going to a park or playgrounds is a great way for you and your child to make new friends.
For tweens and teens, your best bet is to look for locations and clubs that match their interests. Many towns have a local 4-H club where kids of all ages can work together to complete various projects in the fields of health, science, agriculture, and civic engagement. For more active kids, go to a recreational field and see if there’s an open game they might be able to join. Many places have more informal youth sports activities.
Ultimately, the more familiar you get with the area, the more your child will feel at home when you make the move. Plus, it will also help you out when you move as you’ll know where all their favorite places are!
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
There’s nothing worse than having to rush through the moving process and it can be overwhelming even as an adult. Imagine what it must feel like for a child or teenager having their whole world turned upside down in a couple of weeks! In order to avoid emotional turbulence and tantrums, take the move slowly. If you’re moving for work, see if you can get two months to move. This way, you don’t have to cram everything into a single month and, instead, can do a little bit every day. It will also give your child time to adjust and get used to the idea of moving to a new place.
If you really want to save time, you should hire professional movers. If you’re moving to or from NJ, there are dozens of options to choose from, but you should always look up reviews to find movers NJ residents trust. When hiring movers, make sure to let them know what services you need such as packing, storage, plastic bin rentals, and so on. Hiring NJ movers can free up time you can spend hanging out with friends, hosting a going-away party, or dealing with the occasional meltdown of one of your children.
Visit Your Favorite Places in Your Old Town
Carve out some time every week before you move to visit some of your and your child’s favorite places in your old neighborhood. Visit restaurants, attractions, and catalog everything! Heck, you can even create a digital or physical scrapbook of your old hometown so you and your child can look back fondly on these memories. Don’t forget to check in on old friends as well and get their contact information including phone number, email address, social media connections, and home address so you can stay in touch.
Don’t try to cram everything into a single day. Instead, spread out your visits over a few days. That way you can still get some moving necessities done while treating yourself to something fun in the middle or end of the day. Plus, your child will be less likely to be overwhelmed if you sprinkle in some fun things to do over the course of the move.
Do Something Routine Once You Move
People in general thrive on routines. Once your move is done, you should do something familiar as a family to unwind after. Maybe that’s a family movie night or perhaps playing a board game together. Whatever the routine is, stick to it!
If you have younger children you’ll want to stick to your daily routines as much as possible once you move into your new home. It will provide a sense of normalcy for your children and will help keep you on track as well! Of course, you might have to make some exceptions as you’ll need to unpack, but you try to stick to your bedtime and nap schedule as much as possible.
Make the Move With Your Children
Moving is stressful at any age, but for children, it can be a hugely disrupting life event. While these tips can help manage their stress, don’t forget to regularly check in with your children to make sure they’re doing okay. If it looks like your child is struggling, take some time off from packing or unpacking and go outside or maybe just relax with a family movie night. These short breaks can help your child and you feel better!
What is the hardest age for kids to move?
There’s no easy age to move, but in general the older the child is, the more a move impacts them. School-aged children will be leaving behind their friends and favorite teachers and will have to make new ones in an unfamiliar environment. This can be daunting even for the most gregarious child so make sure you keep an eye on them for the first few months in their new school.
How do I keep my younger child from causing disruptions on moving day?
For younger children, it might make sense to drop them off at daycare while the professional NJ movers load up the truck or you can look into babysitting apps and websites to find a capable babysitter who can keep an eye on your young children.
How can I keep my kids happy during the car ride to the new home?
If you’ve ever taken a long road trip with your child, you know how hard it can be to keep them entertained. For a smooth trip, make sure you have a comfortable car and pack plenty of snacks. You should also keep some entertainment on hand and make sure to have chargers!