Moving With Kids Checklist
Moving soon? Here's a week-by-week checklist to make moving with kids easier.
It's official! You're moving. The houses are bought and sold and you have a moving date -- now what? With your timeline firmly in place, it's time for the real work to begin. Anytime you move, the to-do list is a mile long, but when you're moving with kids you have even more things to consider. With so much to do and so little time, it's pretty easy to drop the ball somewhere.
To keep you on track and prevent last-minute scrambling, here's a breakdown of what additional tasks you need to consider when moving with kids, starting from about two months before the big day.
Two Months Before
- Talk to Your Kids
"As soon as you know you're going to move, sit down with your children and make sure they hear the news from you first," suggests Lori Collins Burgan, author of "Moving With Kids" and mom of three who has moved five times in seven years. "Have a family meeting and make a list of all their questions about the new area, and then get the answers."
- Pick a School
"Call the school your child will attend," recommends Anne Violette, the founder of Fun Mom Blog, author of the upcoming book "Smooth Moving" and mom of three who survived moving six times with young kids."Ask them to let you know what will be needed for your child's enrollment."
- Get Vital Records
Get copies of medical, dental, eye and school records for your family. If they prefer to send them directly to the new office, be sure to sign any needed release forms for record transfers.
One Month Before
- Make Moving Day Arrangements
Find a friend or hire a babysitter to watch the kids on moving day. It's safer and less stressful for all if they're out of the house.
- Downsize Toys
"Do a bedroom walk-through with your child. Ask them to help you edit their possessions down to their favorites and donate the rest or give them to friends as a goodbye present," suggests Cynthia Bowman, a consultant and speaker on parenting and travel, an experienced intercontinental mover and the founder of JoyJournist.com.
- Collect Contacts
Give your children their very own address book to take down contact information for their friends. It's important they know they can stay in touch with people they love.
Two Weeks Before
- Throw a Goodbye Party
"Instead of gifts, ask friends to write a letter of one of their special memories," recommends Burgan.
- Do Your Research
When moving to a new city, do your homework. Find out what attractions and activities for kids are nearby and then talk them up to your kids to raise excitement about the move.
- Take Pictures
Before the entire house is in boxes take some special pictures and videos of your family in the house. Be sure to include the kids' bedrooms, favorite places in the house and favorite locations around town.
One Week Before
- Pack a Special Bag
Allow your kids to pack a special suitcase of their most prized possessions and comfort items. These items will stay with your child in the car rather than going on the moving truck.
- Bid Adieu to Your Town
Go out to eat at your favorite restaurant one last time and visit that special beach, park or hiking trail. Taking time to do all your favorites one last time creates a sense of closure.
- Return Items
Make sure your kids don't have any library books or borrowed items from friends that you will have to ship back at a later date.
A Few Days Before
- Plan the Trip
Make sure you know where you'll be stopping if you have a long drive to the new home, and plan a few fun stops for the kids if time allows.
- Buy Essentials
"Stock up on snacks for the kids just for the journey. Crackers, apples and drinks will save you time from stopping at the convenience store every time the kids say they're thirsty or hungry," recommends Violette.
- Last Goodbyes
This is the time to say goodbye to your children's best friends. Give them some one-on-one time and don't rush it.
- Allow Them to Grieve
"Validate your child's feelings -- let them cry if they need to. It's okay for Mom and Dad to cry, too," says Burgan.
- Begin the Adventure
Once you're on the road and your old street is safely in the rear view mirror, keep your attitude happy and remind the kids of the fun things you will get to do in the new town.
- Pack Strategically
"Put the kids' toys last on the truck so that they can play with them when you get there," says Violette.
After the Move
- Have Some Fun
Moving has surely been a long process for everyone involved. Get out, explore the town and take a break from unpacking.
Join a parenting group through BigTent to meet other families and learn the ins and outs of the town. If possible, arrange a playdate for your kids to help them begin new friendships.
- Be Proactive
Talk to neighbors, meet with teachers, sign up for activities and try to get life back to normal for your kids quickly.
Want more tips? Check out these 101 Family Moving Tips.
Victoria Georgoff is a freelance writer and psychotherapist who enjoys writing about parenting, helping other parents and, of course, being a parent herself. Follow her on Twitter.