Moving takes a lot of planning. You have a massive to-do list with organizing, packing, and cleaning. If you must also herd a troop of children and keep them safe in a chaotic environment… Well, that’s a lot!

What CAN you do with your kids while you’re moving?

We have some neat ideas and tips for parents who want to manage their kid’s expectations and emotions about the upcoming family move which we hope you will find useful, and we’d enjoy reading any tips you have that worked well for your own kids.

Some parents resort in distraction and outright bribery. We get it, and there’s no shame in that. Which of us hasn’t at some point? If your busy moving schedule will be best served by plunking junior down on the last remaining chair and letting him watch cartoons, so be it.

If you have the time and energy, you will want to channel your kid’s attention and elicit their help. Remember, they are just as excited about the family’s new beginning in a new house, new city, and new school as you are. They WANT to help!

And they are just as stressed as you are too!

Fortunately, you CAN help them deal with their stress and their emotions about the move, especially if your kids that are moving from the only home they’ve known in their childhood.

Start Talking About the Move as Early as Possible

Start talking with your kids about the move as soon as possible and get them involved with the planning process. This gives them the opportunity to have a say in when it happens, as well as where they go. If you wait to tell them because you think it is easier to just spring the news on them, or if you proceed as thought the move is an “adult only” affair, your kids will most likely feel powerless and unheard, which is the perfect motivation for them to act out and get into mischief. Instead, give them plenty of time to get used to the idea of moving and warm up to the idea of a new home.

Let Them Make Decisions About Their Stuff

Let them make their own decisions about packing their belongings. You might not fully understand the attachment your kid has to a particular toy, but that is a good reason to let them decide what they want to keep, sell, or donate. Just make sure they realize the result must be a packed up and CLEAN room before moving day arrives! This one responsibility will help them feel so much more in control. As you know, action is always the best medicine for anxiety.

Include Them in the Move

It’s not always practical to include younger children in an already chaotic environment with people coming and going. However, if you’ve taken the time to explain exactly what is going to happen on the day of the move, including how confusing things will be as the environment they are used to it disassembled, and how distracted Mom and Dad may be, they will feel more secure.

If they are old enough, consider tasking them with a responsibility, such as monitoring and taking care of the family pet

Expect Challenges

You know the adage; “Best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. Plan in a little flex time to deal with confusion, emotional melt downs, or time out for hugs, especially if this is the first time your kids are moving. Sure, it’s all very exciting for them, but on moving day, the emotional impact can be sudden and overwhelming when they realize they will never see their childhood home again.

That’s why it’s a great idea to spend time with your kids early on to address those feelings, and to encourage them to find ways to remember their childhood home before they move to the next. We have five ideas to help them (and you) do just that:

Create a Memory Box

One way for kids to remember their childhood home is to create a Memory Box. The possibilities of what you could include are endless. It all depends which parts of the home your kids are most fond of. A Memory Box can hold almost anything, and here are a few ideas to get you and your kids started:

• A photograph or picture of your childhood home
• Family photographs of birthdays, games, etc.
• Pictures of your kids enjoying activities in their room, the back yard or garden
• Have them write down their childhood home address
• Have them draw a map of their house and the neighbourhood around it.
• Help them press flowers and leaves from the garden into a book
• Bring a copy of the old key

Shrink It and Bring It

Do you have a treehouse in the backyard the kids are loath to leave? Help them make a miniature version with foam, balsa wood, glue, and paint.

Pictures and Sketches

This is an opportunity for your older kids to try their hand at photography. Task one of them with documenting the day of the move, (with instructions to stay clear of heavy furniture moving and trucks of course). If your kids are creative, set up a contest for them to draw or paint their favourite place in the home or their favourite vantage point.

Create a Home Video

When you were selling your house or looking at a new home to buy, you probably encountered some properties that had virtual tours. Take that idea and create a special tour of your old place that you can watch whenever you miss it. If you don’t want to record the home yourself, you can hire a professional photographer at an affordable rate to take quality HD photos and even a 3-D Matterport tour which you and your kids to enjoy later.

Take Part of It with You

Did you measure your children’s heights in a doorframe? Why not arrange to replace the doorframe and bring the old one to your new home? It will take a bit of effort, but if the ritual and memory of recording your kid’s heights as they’ve grown is too good to leave behind.

Conclusion

With some additional planning, you can make a tremendous difference in your kid’s attitudes and emotions around the move. And, as you move to your next home, let us help you bring your belongings and your memories along and get you and your kids happily started on life’s next chapter.