Moving with kids can be complicated and can become an emotionally draining experience for all parties involved. Whether you are moving across country with kids or, are just moving to a nearby town, family relocation has many steps and moving parts that go beyond just what happens on moving day.
The professionals at Mayflower have put together the ultimate guide for moving with children, to make sure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.
Common Questions About Moving with Kids
Adjusting to a new environment can be stressful on kids of all ages. When relocating with kids, there are several important questions that parents tend to ask.
No matter the age, kids will likely have some apprehension towards moving. The older kids get, the less likely they will want to warm up to the idea. School changes everything for kids. As your kids spend more time in a school, the stronger their relationships are with their friends. Outside of school, your child may be actively participating on a team or in a club they would have to leave after the move. It’s important to consider this when taking your family and moving across country. If you have small children and are even considering a move, it’s best to do so before your child enters kindergarten if it makes sense. Once your child gets to high school the emotional toll of a move can be much greater, especially as they start developing friendships with peers in their hometown. Other teens may, however, welcome a fresh start.
Younger children may be more difficult to manage on moving days but getting them excited about a move will be much easier for parents.
Telling your kids that your family is moving together is a big first step in preparing your children for a move. Involvement throughout the process is very important to making sure that your children get on board with the move but understand that this may take time.
Parents planning to move have a big checklist to tackle when planning a move with kids. The best thing a parent can do is get their child excited about change, and new opportunities that come along with it. It’s very likely that your move coincides with a major life event, and is a positive, although you’re also making some sacrifices.
Below, we share more detailed ideas to help families with children gear up for a move.
The big announcement may require a family meeting. Whether this is a regular occurrence in your household or not, moving is a big deal for everyone involved. You may get some moans and groans, but order pizza and prepare to stay calm.
It’s good to have this meeting sooner rather than later. Maybe, after some consideration, you have accepted a new job offer in the morning. Plan on discussing with your kids later that night to affirm your commitment to the job.
Present all the positives that drove you to make your decision. Reassure your kids that everything will be alright, and that you plan to do everything you can to meet their emotional needs.
Whether you have closed on your new home already or not, now is the time to get your kids involved in the process. You can include your kids in as many big decisions as you feel comfortable with, but make sure they don’t feel pushed aside in any way. This includes:
Your child’s first question, depending on their age, will be “where to?” when you tell them you are moving.
Get your child excited about the move by showcasing everything there is to do in their hometown. If you are moving to a suburb of a large city, explore those nearby attractions as well.
Understand that this is a family move and take your kids into account beforehand. If your child plays baseball on a local team, make sure to research similar teams they can join in their new town and present this information to them. You’ll also want to know about community offerings, such as swimming pools, playgrounds, parks, etc.
If you have time and the means, it’s best to take a trip to your new town together to explore all it has to offer. Your child may find out that they love a certain restaurant or nearby amusement park, giving them something to be excited about. This is a good time to tour prospective schools as well, allowing your child the opportunity to meet administrators and teachers.
Be a tourist in your hometown one last time and if your child has developed an emotional attachment, let them know that they can always go home later in life, or, on a vacation. Visit favorite restaurants, attractions, and catalog everything together. If there is anything that you’ve wanted to do with your kids but haven’t found the time to yet, make sure you can visit before you leave.
Give your kids the opportunity to celebrate with their close friends at home before you go. It is important to remember that this is not a goodbye party. Instead, focus on the positives and promise your kids that they will be able to see their friends again soon. Make sure your child has all their friend’s contact information, including phone number, email address, social media connections and home address for future use. Plan a follow-up trip after you’re settled in your new home to allow your child to see their friends again soon.
While the emotional aspect of moving with kids is perhaps the most important thing parents have to manage, there are several housekeeping steps that need to occur before finalizing a move.
Whether you are enrolling your children in the local public school system or are considering private schooling options, parents need to thoroughly evaluate schools in your new town prior to the move.
Summertime is the best for family moves, allowing your child to start fresh during a new school year. Early summer moves allow more time to weigh your schooling options, but this is best handled before you decide on a new home.
School districts may vary greatly in quality from neighborhood to neighborhood in some larger suburban communities, so it’s very important to be comfortable with the assigned public school based on your new address.
Private schools may cost significantly more than you may have budgeted and may have different entry requirements depending on prestige.
Finding the right pediatrician for your children before you move just gives you one less thing to worry about after unpacking. Transferring your child’s records to a new pediatrician should be one of the first things you do after your move is complete.
Moving day is going to be stressful. If your child is younger, their presence amongst the chaos may be more of a burden than a helping hand. Research nearby daycare facilities that can take care of your kids while you focus on the heavy lifting, or, look to babysitting apps and websites to find a reputable sitter with positive reviews.
If you’re moving across the country with kids, you have options. Are you planning a road trip or are you flying to your destination handle?
If you would rather not go the old-fashioned way, this may be the first time your child has flown. To help make this ride as easy as possible:
Now that everything is very real, your child’s anxiety may have shifted (at least temporarily) to excitement! If you were unable to find childcare for your move, here’s what you can plan on doing now:
Your child may have seen photos of their new home, but now they are here. Show your kids around. Point out any interesting quirks, and features that they will enjoy, such as the backyard. If you have multiple children, this is where you may have your first fight if they all want the same bedroom. Come up with a fair competition to help alleviate any conflicts, such as a good old-fashioned game of rock-paper-scissors.
You may be in a hurry to get your living room and kitchen unpacked, but your child’s room should always be the first to be unpacked and put together. This helps restore some sense of normalcy and will allow you to separate and entertain your children as you unpack the rest of the house. The extra work up front here can pay off big as you go about the rest of your day.
Even though you’re planning to unpack your child’s room first, you still need to entertain them while you get their room setup. This is where outdoor games can come into play. After the professional movers have moved heavy furniture into your kids’ room, one parent should work on setting up the child’s room while the other supervises outdoor play. Along with your first -night box, have an easily accessible box with play equipment, such as a slip n’ slide, bean bag toss or mini-golf game.
Once you’re settled into your new home, it’s time to unwind a little bit. By this point, everyone in your family is probably exhausted, and ready for a much-deserved break.
Try to introduce yourself and your kids to the neighbors as soon as possible. If your neighbors have kids around the same age as yours, they can quickly make a new friend this way, which will help settle them down almost immediately.
Once your move is complete, take some time together as a family to unwind in a familiar way. If family BBQs are your thing, break the grill in at your new home. If you’re understandably too exhausted to cook, order pizza from a familiar chain and play board games together as a family.
In some senses, moving with a newborn is easier than moving with small children or even teenage children.
Thankfully, moving with a newborn eliminates all the mental health challenges associated with moving, which is by far the hardest part of moving with older children.
Parents of newborns know that consistency is very important from day-to-day. Leading up to, and during your move, try not to change your newborn’s routine too much. It will be harder to keep up with regular naps and feeding schedules, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Paying special attention to maintaining your routine will take time away from packing, so it’s important to get started early. If you packed up your entire house as a week before kids, plan on at least three weeks, doing a little bit each night to continue giving your baby the attention it needs.
Mom & Dad have a lot on their plate with a newborn. Along with having a professional move you into your new home, consider full-service packing services to help alleviate some of that stress.
Last Time Before the Move
If you’re moving somewhere new, plan to visit your pediatrician one last time before you move and make sure your records are transferred to a new doctor you can trust. This will assure you that your baby is happy, healthy, and prepared to make the move. Even if you’re not moving far away, it’s best to get this out of the way now, instead of during your first few weeks in your home when you have more to worry about.
Be prepared for moving day, by packing extra diapers, clothes, food, toys and a favorite blanket for moving day. Make sure these items are easily accessible in case you need them during the actual move.
Just as you did with your previous home, it’s important that your new home is ready for the baby. This could include:
For those who are expecting and anticipating the need for a larger space, it may be easier to move before your due date. This keeps you from having to babyproof or set up nurseries twice and can eliminate a lot of stress that may occur when moving with an infant.
Children of all ages deal with emotional stress while moving, but older kids take it the hardest, especially if it’s something they have never done before.
For parents of older children, below are some helpful tips for coaching your teen through a life-changing move:
Scheduling a summertime move will be less disruptive than taking your child out of school during the middle of the year, allowing them to get their affairs in order with friends. Finding out two months before prom that they will not be able to attend can be devastating news for a teen.
Your teen may be emotional, and that is to be expected. Listen to their reasoning and try to make sure they feel included throughout the moving process. Try to help get them involved in their new community early and often.