Photo by Derick Moreno | 239Listing.com
At some point, most families consider the possibility of moving. While packing up to go is disruptive for adults, children often experience at least some level of trauma, especially if they are leaving the only home they’ve ever known.
Make the choice
Children thrive on routine and flourish in familiarity. Once the decision has been made, stay as positive about the move as possible. Let the kids weigh in on things such as which new house they like best or what bedroom they want. Be open and honest about the process and let the kids help where they can. After all, it is adecision that affects everyone in the family and the kids should be involved to an appropriate degree.
Determine the best time
Some experts, including Dr. Gayle Peterson, author of Making Healthy Families, insist that moving during the summer is best for children since it represents a natural transition between grades. Others believe that a mid-year move is more beneficial as it allows children to meet friends immediately and puts them into a new routine. Your decision will be affected by a number of factors including your employment situation, finances, and your children’s openness to change.
Prepare for the big day
Moving is more than a one-step process so prepare ahead of time and you will minimize chaos, which is good for both you and the kids. In the months before the move, go through the home and dispose of or donate anything you haven’t used in the previous six months. Huffington Post offers a great list of places to donate clothing here. Start packing non-essential items a few weeks in advance, which will clear space and make it easier to maneuver when furniture is being ushered from room to room.
Pack to perfection
Even if you hired a moving company, you’ll want to pack your personal belongings yourself. Bed Bath & Beyond recommends packing fragile or odd shaped items in a box all to themselves. Be sure to use a blanket on the bottom and carefully wrap each item individually. A pillow on top will add an extra layer of protection against crushing and jiggling. Invest in plenty of broad tip red and black permanent markers so that you can mark your boxes as fragile, where applicable. It is better to over-communicate and overstate the item’s fragility than to arrive with a box full of broken items.
Clothing and other non-breakable items should be packed in strong, corrugated boxes of different sizes. Packing a moving van is a lot like playing Tetris, so alternating between small, medium, and large boxes will help the movers fit the most items into the available space. Check outthis list of the top items that get damaged on moving day and how you can protect them.
Know your limitations
Most professional movers have limitations on things they can and cannot transport. Household chemicals, paint, prescription medication, and firearms are likely something you will need to move on your own. Additionally, some movers don’t want to take on the liability of handling cash, financial documents, pets, or family photographs. Discuss these items and any other important personal family heirlooms with your moving project manager. The ASPCA suggests acclimating your pet to long vehicle trips in the months before the move. This will not only reduce stress on you and your furry friend, but will make the transition easier for your kids as well since their pets won’t be as agitated.
Keep necessary items within reach
What you define as necessary and what your children deem necessary will likely be two different things. As a parent, you will be responsible for packing toothbrushes, a change of clothes, and any medications you may need your first night in your new home. Allow your little ones to pack a bag for themselves to include treasured books, stuffed animals, or snacks they may need to comfort them on the journey to their new home.