Thank you, U-Pack for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
Relocation is tough on everyone. Moving with kids is a particular challenge; both for you and for your children. Us grown-ups have our own hassles, but for kids, the process of moving across the country, leaving everything they’ve known, being thrown into a situation where have little control can be especially tough on kids.
My kids were very sad to leave their school and their friends. However, we planned a lot in advance to make sure they would be as prepared as possible for our big move.
The following are what we did to make moving with kids as painless as possible for everyone.
Read Your Children Books About Moving
One of the very first things I did was buy several books about moving and about starting a new school. These are a few of the books I got:
- The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day, By Stan and Jan Berenstain
- Moving Day! By Jess Stockham
- Boomer’s Big Day, By Constance McGeorge
Reading these books before the move helped them visualize the process, what was going to happen and what they could expect. We also talked through the whole process of packing up, spending a week in Minnesota while we waited for our stuff to ship, and then unpacking when we got there.
Create a Memories Book
One way to honor your time in your city is to create a memory book. You can use an online printing company to create a book, or you can make your own scrap book with old pictures and other memories from their school or time in that city.
Involve Your Kids in the Moving Process
It’s really hard for little kids to be very involved. However, if they don’t understand what is happening to them, they might be more upset. The last time we moved (3 years ago from California), they were very little, so they don’t even remember the process. This time around, they are old enough to understand a major change is happening. The major way I involved them was by talking through the process, letting them decide some of the items we would leave behind, and letting them pack their own backpack for the trip to Minnesota.
Honor Your Child’s Feelings About the Move
It’s important to realize your kids might be upset or scared. Those feelings are totally normal and you should do your best to honor their feelings. Talk with them and make sure they understand that change is hard, but that everything will be OK.
Try to Stick to Your Normal Routine
This is one is tough. However, as much as possible, try to stick to your normal activities and time frames. We kept our kids in school up until the day we left. We then started them at their new school the day we arrived. School is a constant for them, so it helped them get acclimated to their new place right away. Plus, returning to school created a new routine for them, and in the short run, helped me and my husband unpack and settle in at in our new place.
Make the Move an Adventure
We made the move an adventure by taking a vacation in between leaving Phoenix and arriving in Boston. Instead of having too much time to think about leaving Phoenix, they were thinking about their upcoming vacation to see family and play in Minnesota. We organized a bunch of fun activities for them in Minnesota, like going to the famous state fair, so they had no time to be sad or think much about Phoenix at all.
Set up Your Kids’ Bedroom First
Once you arrive at your new home, make an effort to organize the kids’ rooms first. We set up their beds immediately and then set up their play room. The first day when they got home from school, they were so excited to check out their new spaces. Even though there were boxes everywhere in our home, at least their bedroom and playroom was a safe and comfortable space for them to play, relax and sleep.
Plan Fun Activities in the New Place
Our first weekend in Boston happened to be Memorial Day weekend. Although it was raining one of the days, the other two days we found fun things to do to get the kids excited about their new place. We found an awesome neighborhood park and we played in our front yard. Since we live on a cul-de-sac, they love being able to ride their bikes and scooters in the street. We also played ball in the front yard. Just these little activities that we couldn’t do in Phoenix (it was 105 today!), make their new place exciting and special.
Help Your Child Keep in Touch With Those Left Behind
If your child has important people they are leaving behind, you can help them keep in touch. Use Facetime, Google Hangouts, or Skype to make keeping in touch inexpensive and convenient. You could also help them write letters and/or send pictures to their friends or old teachers. I was pretty sure my kids would miss their teachers the most, but within only a day of being at their new school, they were super happy and have hardly mentioned their old school.
If your child will also be starting a new school when you get to your new home, here’s a list of tips I created to help kids adjust to a new school. I followed these ideas and within one day, my kids absolutely loved their new school, teachers, and new friends.