Moving house can be stressful. Moving house with children can be really, really stressful. To help we've put together our top tips on moving house with kids to help you survive.Before you move
Countdown to the move as a family
Even small children get excited about Christmas long before the day. Take some time as a family to brainstorm what you need to do before you move, make a list and keep it on the fridge. That way you can add to it and tick items off as you complete them.
Tell your kids as soon as you can
Tell your children about the move as soon as possible. Make it a time when both you and they are relaxed and happy. If you're positive about it, they probably will be too. There are plenty of books for children about moving house. Ask your local library for some that you can read to your kids.
Change everyone's contact details
Whether you're moving near or far, there are a lot of people to notify. Even if you're just changing address, remember you'll need to talk to:
- Children's school/s
- Their doctor and dentist
- Any activity groups, such as swimming or music lessons, sports teams etc
Make sure you include this in your planning, even if you don't do it until after you've moved.
Let them say goodbye to their old home
Acknowledge the home your family's leaving, and take some photos of your kids in their bedroom or favourite corner of the garden. Consider having a small farewell party before you move – invite one or two of your children's closest friends and take photos of them together in your home.Packing
Tips for packing with kids
Moving can be a great opportunity to declutter your house. Use our three pile method to help your kids sort their toys, books and other belongings into piles for keeping, donating and selling.
Keep everyone involved
Work backwards from moving day and assign tasks for each of your kids. They'll love being involved and it will save you time too. Tasks could include:
- Organising their toys, books and other belongings
- Sorting their clothes and shoes
- Taking unwanted belongings to a charity shop
- Packing toys that won't be needed in the first few days
- Helping pack belongings around the house – kitchenware, linen, towels etc
How to pack toys for moving
Toddlers and small children love putting things in boxes. Help them sort their belongings, and let them pack some of them. If they're feeling anxious about the move, they may try to hold onto lots of things, so be patient. Keep their favourite toys and items to one side so they can come with you on moving day. Be sure to label their boxes clearly, and maybe let the kids decorate them.
Keep older children involved too
Older children can usually sort their own belongings. Help them label their boxes, and encourage them to write a short list of what's in each box. If you have the dimensions of their new room, let them plan how it will look. That will help them decide how to pack their things.
Give your teenagers a bit more responsibility
You probably won't have to issue too many packing instructions to teenagers. Try and respect their decisions about what they're keeping, and consider allowing them to sell their own items. You could ask your teenager to be in charge of selling on Trade Me belongings that you're not keeping, or organising a garage sale.
Be open to their questions and concerns as well; teenagers may feel just as anxious about moving as your younger kids.
Packing the kids' essentials
Two weeks before you move, make your life easier by packing a suitcase of essentials for the first couple of days. Think nappies, bottles, toilet paper, at least one change of clothes, and maybe a small first aid kit. Let the kids be involved in packing it.
Surviving moving day
If you have toddlers or small children, the easiest thing will be to have family or friends take care of them on moving day. If that's not possible, here are some tips to help get you through the day.
- Pack your children's toys in the truck last so they're the first items into the new house
- Try and arrive before the moving company so your children can look around the house first. That way they'll see their things arrive
- Make sure kids' furniture is in place before they start unpacking. You'll avoid a removal man standing on toys while he moves a chest of drawers
- Celebrate with pizza and ice cream for dinner. Make sure you sit down and enjoy it as a family
- Pack your children's bedsheets, bathroom essentials and favourite books together so you can easily get them off to bed when they're ready
- Don't forget the T.V.!
While you're unpacking the kitchen and making beds, give older children and teenagers time and space to unpack their belongings. Make sure they're breaking down empty boxes so you don't have to do it later. You can also involve them in setting up the rest of the house.
Welcome to your new home
Getting back to normal
Congratulations – you made it! Now to get things organised. A routine will help your toddlers and younger children settle in. Try and keep dinner, bath and bed times the same, and help them unpack their new room as soon as possible. They may act up once the excitement of the move has passed, so try and find a park or playground nearby for them to discover.
Helping your kids cope with the move
Even with the best of intentions, moving can be hard on your children. Check out this advice from Verywell.com about helping your kids cope with your move.
If you're moving during the school year, here are some ideas about helping your children settle into a new school.
How can we help?
Let us know if you're ready to move and talk to us about your energy needs. Good luck!
A quick check list for moving with your kids and staying sane
- Tell the kids as soon as possible
- Assign tasks from your ‘to do' list to everyone in the family
- Include changing the kids' contact details with their school, doctor, coach etc on your list
- Say good bye to your home and plan a small farewell if appropriate
- Use the three pile method to declutter your house before you pack
- Give your kids responsibility for at least some of their packing
- Pack a suitcase of essentials for the first couple of days
- Pack children's toys last
- Make sure kids' furniture is in place before they start unpacking
- Pack kids' bedtime essentials together to get them off to bed easily
- Unpack and set up the T.V. as soon as you can