5 Moving Day Tips to Ease Stress
Moving is hard work, but it doesn't have to be stressful. Try these 5 tips to reduce stress for the whole family.
No matter how much you prepare for moving day, transporting your entire life from one house to another is stressful for both parents and kids. Add a few lost boxes or uncooperative pets into the equation, and the anxiety level skyrockets. To help ease the tension surrounding the actual move, try planning some ways to help your kids through this big change.
Here are five moving day tips to keep everyone happily on track:
- Explain the Plan Before Moving Day
Your kids will want to be part of this monumental event, so why not plan a family meeting and go over the plan of action for move-in day? Hold the meeting a few days before the big move and make it a festive atmosphere -- order a special treat like pizza, or serve a silly dinner like pancakes paired with mashed potatoes (bonus: use this as an excuse to clean out your cupboards).
During the meeting, go over the moving plan and assign age-appropriate jobs to each child. Rather than sitting and watching the boxes and furniture be removed from their home, kids might feel better about the process if they're given some responsibility. Sorting toys and clothes for donations is one way to keep them busy, suggests Dr. Lori Woodring, a psychologist and author of "My Very Exciting, Sorta Scary, Big Move."
- Allow Kids to Pack an "Open First" Box
While you're throwing those last items in a box on move day, kids may also want to get involved with packing. Have them pack an "open first" box with their favorite toys and books. You can also let them decorate the already packed boxes containing their personal items. Keep them busy with stickers, markers and crayons.
According to licensed professional counselor Lisa Remey, who has moved frequently as a military mom, "Not only will this allow children to be part of the process, it will also give them a visual to identify their own boxes coming on and off the truck."
- Give Kids a Break By Planning a Fun Activity on Move Day
After the initial excitement of seeing the moving van pull up wears off, kids may begin to grow bored with the work of carrying boxes in and out. If you're working under a deadline and need to devote some serious time to executing your move, plan some fun activities for your kids to keep them occupied during the less exciting parts of the day.
At your old house, use tape to mark a hopscotch board in the first room you empty, or set out empty plastic bottles for a game of bowling.When you're unpacking in your new home, try scoping out local activities. You can use the Big Tent app to ask local parenting groups for entertainment advice. Plus, if your kids are excited about a new experience, it may take their minds away from the move.
- Bring Along an Extra Surprise
As moving day draws to a close and the impact of the big change starts to settle in your kids' minds, ease their anxiety with an extra surprise. Dr. Woodring recommends offering them something small like a new book, game or video which can be easily carried with you during the move day.
This may also be the time to think about bigger surprises that you were planning to eventually purchase anyway -- wouldn't it be fun to have a new swing set in the backyard when your kids pull up to their new home?
- Allow Kids to Say Goodbye
Before you leave your old home, Dr. Woodring suggests allowing kids to walk through the house one more time when it's empty. This will help give them an all-important sense of closure. Dr. Woodring also suggests leaving a special mark or memory behind, like carving your kids' initials into a tree, planting a flower or painting a stone in the garden.
For many kids, the actual moving day is the most difficult of the entire relocation process. But with these moving day tips, you can gather together in the new home, spend some time relaxing and breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Jennifer A. DiGiovanni is a freelance writer, small business owner and mother of three.