7 Ways to Make Moving Day Fun for Your Kids

7 Ways to Make Moving Day Fun for Your Kids

Hints to make your move day less stressful and more exciting for your kids.

By Heather Chaet

You’ve talked about it for months, but that move is now just days away. Everyone in your family is getting a little nervous and a wee bit anxious about how the actual day of moving homes (and the few days after) will go. You have to focus on packing those last-minute boxes and coordinating the movers, but there are a few things you can do to make the moving day more fun (and less traumatic) for your kids.

As you make your way through those mazes of tape and bubble wrap, keep in mind these seven hints to help your little ones feel at home faster.

1. Before the movers arrive, pack a special bag with your child’s must-haves and other toys. When you get to that new home, all full of boxes, your child may feel overwhelmed by not knowing where her stuff is. Having a duffle bag with her favorite toys and other items makes it easy to find on that hectic moving day. “Have a small bag filled with essentials such as pajamas, blankies, and toothbrushes to avoid a mad hunt for these items in transit or upon arrival at your new place,” suggests Sarah Gray, PR manager and writer for You Move Me.

2. Set up their rooms first. As much as you want to dive into that kitchen, work with your children to get their rooms in livable condition first. Once some of their familiar items are out, and their rooms start to feel less like a stack of boxes and more like home, their uncertainty over the newness of the house will begin to ease. “Let your children set up a portion of their own room,” says Gray. “It will give them a feeling of ownership in a new space.”

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3. Have them help put away other stuff. Obviously, kids can’t move a couch or bring in that table, but they can unpack smaller objects, which helps you out and enables them to feel “at home” faster. Give them the kitchen utensils to put in a drawer or have them place all of the books by the bookcase. “Encourage children to participate in putting things in their new places,” says Gina M. Geremia, PhD, clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University. “This reduces stress because not only will children know where their things are, but they will also feel that they are an important part of the process.”

4. Mix in the old with the new. Perhaps you are totally psyched to get some new items, say a new rug or couch, but ditching everything from the old home can be a mistake in terms of helping your children (and you) feel comfortable with this change. “Keep many tangible reminders of the previous home present and visible,” says Geremia. “These familiar items will be soothing to adults as well as children adjusting to a move.”

5. Keep those usual routines and rituals. The first night in your new home -- and days after the move -- will be a time of big emotional adjustment for all of you. Anything you can do that is the same is key, especially continuing daily routines, such as singing songs and telling stories at bedtime or playing special bath time games. “Maintain the same morning and evening rituals as you had practiced in the previous home,” says Geremia. “These actions will provide a sense of comfort and stability.”

6. A move is really big, so don’t add to the chaos. You may think that a new home would be an ideal time to make other changes, but actually, too many overhauls at once can overwhelm your child and have the opposite effect. It may be wise to delay switching from a crib to a toddler bed, toilet training, or going a big vacation for a month or so, until your child feels secure in your new home.

7. In the days and weeks after, make extra time for your kids. Throughout the upheaval of the move, your children are looking to you as their main sense of security. You are the one thing that hasn’t changed. As they are settling in, they may need extra attention, more snuggles, and more Mommy time than usual. Be sure you give them as much as they need until they feel more comfortable and used to their new home.

How did moving day go for you and your kids?

Heather Chaet documents her mini parenting successes, epic mommy fails, and everything in between for a plethora (love that word!) of publications and websites such as CafeMom, New York Family, and AdWeek. While her online persona is found at heatherchaet.com, Heather lives in New York City with her film director husband and one insanely curious, cat-obsessed daughter.

Image ©iStock.com/nullplus

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