Packing and moving into a new home is challenging enough, but try doing it with a family and it can seem downright impossible. If you’ve never moved with kids, you’re probably feeling pretty anxious, but the good news is, we’ve had many parents with children of all ages move into our family-friendly Albany apartments over the years, and everyone survives! Here are a few tips to help keep you and kids both sane and safe during your move.
1. Maintain your routine. Children rely on stability and routine for their comfort and well-being. To help ease the stress of packing and a new home, try to maintain your regular schedule for eating, naps and bed times. This goes for you as parents, too. Skipping meals or failing to get enough sleep will stress you out more, leaving you with less patience to deal with a needy child or the inevitable tantrum.
2. Pack while the kids are asleep. Since the best time to pack is during naps and bedtime, you’ll want to start weeks in advance of your moving day. Trust us, this is much easier than trying to pack while your toddler is diligently removing each item from the box. You’ll also save your older children the anxiety of seeing their belongings boxed up. In fact, your child’s room should be the last thing you pack, and among the first things you set up at the new place.
3. Plan for a proper good-bye. Leaving your home, neighborhood and friends is emotional, and it’s equally, if not more, taxing on children. Consider hosting a going away party so that your children have a chance to say good-bye to friends. If a playdate at your new home will be possible once you’re settled, remind them of that. Plan to have one last meal at your family’s favorite restaurant and visit any parks or other special places you frequented to create a sense of closure.
4. Consider getting a sitter. During the actual move, it’s a good idea to get your children out of the house. With all the unfamiliar sounds and people coming and going, even the most well-behaved kids can become unraveled. Alternatively, some children become clingy, making it hard for you to get anything accomplished. If you don’t have friends, family or a trusted babysitter that can watch your child for the day, download a few kid-friendly games for your tablet or a set up a portable DVD player away from the action to keep your child occupied and out of harm’s way.
5. Arrange for a new few and exciting surprises. If you normally limit your child’s TV time, a move is not the place to be strict. An extra hour of Paw Patrol may be just what you need to keep everybody happy. iPad apps, books and a new, gift-wrapped toy are good distractions while you unpack, as well. You may also want to have some snacks that might normally be considered contraband in your house. In addition to your child’s usual healthy foods, have some junk food handy to use in a meltdown emergency.