There’s no question that moving from one home to another is a major event. Add young children into the mix and what is undeniably stressful can become downright traumatic. How do you get the job done with toddlers at your feet?
Lindsey M. Roberts recently moved her family – including a 2-year-old son and six month old daughter — from Virginia to Wisconsin. In a parenting article for The Washington Post, she listed these lessons she learned on how to ease the tension for all:
Pack while the kids are asleep: Erma Bombeck once wrote that cleaning the house with children at home is like shoveling when it’s still snowing outside. In others words, why waste your time? The same is true of trying to pack up toys while the kids are around to unpack them at the same time. Roberts advises completing this task —as well as getting rid of toys your kids no longer play with — while the kids are blissfully asleep.
Ask someone to keep your kids occupied while you pack: No matter how well-behaved they are, let’s face it, kids slow you down. Ask a relative or friend to entertain your children in the home or elsewhere while you’re working.
Get help: If friends or family offer to help you pack, let them. But be sure to give them tasks that don’t require much oversight (not packing family heirlooms or cherished mementos, for example).
Start early: If you think it will take you two weeks to pack, plan on four. “Believe me,” writes Roberts, “it will take twice as long to pack up your house [than before you had kids], no matter how small it is. I spent so many days inside our townhouse, stressed out to my eyeballs, because the days on the calendar were flying by but my hands were too full of kids to pack.” Give yourself plenty of time to get the job done.
Buy a few surprises: Stock up on some new toys to surprise your kids with during the move. A trip to your family’s favorite restaurant at the end of the move can also serve as great morale booster.
Say goodbye to the old house: Just as we like to see our friends one last time before leaving, it can be reassuring for children to take a final walk through the house and wave goodbye. Take them through each room for a parting look.
Understand that it takes time to adjust to a new place: “Moving is psychologically disorienting and emotionally exhausting,” writes Roberts. “Give yourself and your kids grace” —and the time to grow into the new environment.