Moving as it is is never easy. Throw children into the mix and the pressure just got greater, particularly in the case of long distance moving.
When moving with young ones, there are two aspects to it.
One, there is the planning for how to make the move easier on them. And then there is the pressure of dealing with the disappointment they feel when it dawns on them that they will be leaving behind what they’ve always known as home.
Children don’t have as much tolerance for dealing with long hauls as we adults do. Worse still, it can be hard for them to stomach the fact that they will be leaving behind their friends, their school, their play spots – like a favourite tree, for example – and so on.
If you have a long distance move on the cards, we won’t promise moving with kids will be easy. But there are definitely some things you can do to make it easier on them and everyone involved.
Prepare them for the move in advance
They may be kids, but it is important to keep them in the loop regarding the upcoming move. Don’t wait too late to start talking about the move. In the case of toddlers and preschoolers, bring up the discussion at least a month ahead of the move.
Let them know that you will talk to friends about the relocation and that other important things (like mom and dad) won’t be changing.
The idea is to provide an emotional cushion and keep the relocation from looking like a complete overhaul of their lives.
Move in the summer, between school years
The transition will be much smoother for your child if you can plan to move during the summer months. It can be very daunting for them if they are forced to move mid-semester and start a new life halfway across the country, particularly if they are introverted.
Not to mention, they will fall behind through no choice of their own.
By contrast, relocating ahead of the school year means your child will be able to meet his/her classmates and teachers from Day 1.
It is true that movers charge higher during the summer as this is peak moving period. But it’s a cost worth incurring if you factor in the needs and wellbeing of your child.
Bring plenty of snacks
Obviously, moving with kids means you have to prep yourself on the snacking side of things as they have to keep nibbling.
Pack enough snacks factoring in the number of mouths and distance being covered.
As regards the best type of snacks to take with you, finger foods make for a great choice. Avoid things like chocolate chips, ‘cos “road mix”, so you don’t want anything melting on your car seats.
Plan for activities
Obviously, there is plenty of travel involved when it comes to a long distance move. The trip can be exhausting with kids in tow, so it is important to plan carefully to make everything run smoother.
When it comes to the children, make sure to pick out toys and activities that will keep them occupied, but ones that won’t be annoying to anyone within earshot.
Select activities that will not bore them stiff within a few hours or require a lot of supervision or assistance.
As well, include some toys and games they are used to. But to reduce the risk of boredom, feel free to throw in a new toy or game one that they can lose themselves in.
Host a goodbye party for them
Chances are your child has already struck up friendships that they will miss following the relocation. This is one of the saddest aspects of moving for kids.
For this reason, it is never a bad idea to host a going-away party for your child to allow them the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to their close friends and playmates.
Amidst all the chaos of moving, an upcoming party is just what they need to keep them pumped up in anticipation.
Make this one about them – give them the free reign (with a little supervision, of course!) – to craft the menu, pick invitations, and decorate the house.
The good thing about a party is that it provides closure for the child. While you may be stretched timewise (and probably in terms of budget) kids will be fine with a small, hassle-free arrangement.