Moving with Young Children
Moving can be an exhausting and stressful time for anyone but having young children in the mix can add a whole new set of challenges. Moving with children under the age of 5 takes lots of planning and extra care. The good news is that children are incredibly resilient and adaptable but here are some tips to help you every step of the way.
Get them excited
Young children are obviously not going to be part of the decision-making process when it comes to moving but it’s important that they know what is going on, assuming they are old enough to understand (this part applies mostly to children who are 2 and up). Once the decision has been made, let your child know. Show them pictures of the new house and what their room will look like. Make sure to just highlight things that your little one will be interested in; they are not going to be as excited about the kitchen storage as you may be. Get them excited about it!
Showing your home
If you are going to be selling your home, you will need to be prepared for showings and open houses. We all know that life with children can be both hectic and messy. Stay on top of the mess so you are not caught off guard with short notice showings. Every night before you go to bed, make sure that your house is clean; this can be exhausting after a long day but it will be well with it in the long run. You will also need to come up with a plan for all those toys since they are not ideal to leave around for showings. Consider investing in some large bins that the toys can be loaded into quickly and stowed away. If you don’t have room in your basement or garage, you could also stow them in your vehicle.
Packing poses a variety of challenges for parents of young children for the reasons of time, safety, and practicality. Time may be limited if you’re chasing a toddler or tending to a young baby. For this reason, it is important to plan and don’t be afraid to divide and conquer with your partner. Plan to pack when your little one is napping or after they go to bed. Also try to think of items that your child can help you pack, like linens or clothes, but keep in mind that this may take much longer than doing it solo! Stacks of boxes and packing materials can pose a safety risk for young children so make sure that boxes are stowed in an area that is not accessible and that box-cutters and markers are kept out of reach. And the most important tip for packing is to pack your child’s stuff last. Your child will need toys to play, and all their necessary equipment up until the day you move so make it easier on yourself and leave all that stuff to the last minute. You can live without a lot but they may not be able to do so as easily. Label your boxes with detail so that you can find that much needed item, if need be.
If possible, find someone to watch your children during the move. There will be too much going on to keep an eye on them to make sure they are safe and to ensure that they are occupied and taken care of. If you have family nearby, consider sending them to sleep over the night before to allow you time to do all that last-minute packing mentioned above. If you do have to keep them with you for the move, come up with a plan and understand that one parent may be unavailable to really help with the move for most of the day.
Unpacking and Maintaining Routines
Your children’s stuff was the last to be packed and will likely need to be the first to be unpacked. Start by setting up your child’s room. If they walk into that space and see all their “stuff”, they will likely feel immediately more comfortable. Any parent knows that routines are important and sleep routines are the most important so make this space a priority. For the rest of the house, focus on spaces that will be immediately accessible to your child. Make sure that they are child-proofed and clear of moving supplies. Use spare bedrooms as a place to store unopened boxes until you have a chance to get to them. And last but not least, get the kitchen functional as quickly as possible. Your children will need to eat and you don’t want to be ordering take out for days!