It’s summertime, and summer is a good time for folks with kids to move, as school isn’t in session. Today I thought I’d write a few things about moving to help make the transition a little easier for all – advice that can help throughout the year as well!
Moving is stressful. Even if it is a good move, it still entails work, planning, changing addresses, and if moving out of town, changing doctors, banks, places to shop, etc. If you have kids things can get tougher, as their needs beg to be addressed too.
Involve children in the planning and moving process, so that they get a chance to transition in a healthy way. If they’re old enough, you can also include them in the choice of a new home and neighborhood. After you close on the house, take them to your new home a few times, and let them help plan their new room. What color to paint, where to place the bed, where to put the toys. This way, they can look forward to the move, knowing that they are helping. If your move is not local, kids can still plan out things on paper, and choose colors. You might even engage them in planning other rooms!
If your move is local, plan on cleaning out drawers and cupboards that are in your new house, so that each time you drive over, you can take a load of everyday items and put them away. When the actual moving date arrives, you’ll already have, for instance, a pretty operational kitchen in which to work. You’ll still have plenty of boxes to unload, but from the get-go you’ll feel more at home.
If your move is not local, plan your packing so that items end up in boxes that can be earmarked for certain rooms, and label them accordingly. This way, you can have the movers deposit boxes in their appropriate rooms. If you know the box has items you need fairly quickly, mark the box accordingly. It will save you from opening a lot of boxes just to find the needed items. Also remember to bring along with you all records of vaccinations and other medical information for the whole family, including pets!
Remember to take care of your body. Get enough rest, eat well (even if you are “emptying the refrigerator,” you can cook and freeze some good meals to eat before the move, so that you can forego eating out or eating store-bought frozen meals. These can also be made ahead, before the crunch of moving is upon you. Also remember to save your back, legs, and hips by bending and moving properly. It’s easy, when stressed, to just do things helter-skelter, but by bending and moving correctly, many problems can be averted.
When move-in day arrives, remember to check the boxes that are placed in your new home, to make sure they are where they belong. Movers are pretty good at this, but usually some end up in strange places. Better for them to move the boxes than you!
Make the beds as soon as possible, and treat your child to some form of normalcy – a bedtime story, a bath, cuddle time – on that first night, to help them feel at home. Also, make their room the first priority, so that they have a familiar and comforting place to call their own. Throughout the coming week or so of unpacking, enlist their help to unpack toys, set up a play area, and help with other boxes where their help can be appreciated – putting away towels, unpacking their books, putting away clothes, etc. Remember also to take time each day to be with them in some meaningful way for them. Relationships are vitally important, and are easily forgotten in the bustle of activity!
If your child’s behavior starts becoming unusual, it just may be because of all the changes coming into their life. Take breaks, explore the neighborhood, find playgrounds and schools, meet neighbors, and help your child become more comfortable in their new setting. If you live close enough, also invite over friends from the old neighborhood, so that friendships can continue even from a new place.
Take breaks from arranging/re-arranging things. Sometimes distancing yourself from the chaos helps with the sorting and organizing. Don’t buy a lot of new stuff too quickly. Live with what you have, and then you’ll have better clarity about what you might need to replace or to purchase. Above all, have fun! Moving can be a great experience if you let it be so!