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Let’s be honest, moving is a lot of work. Sprinkle a few kids on top and things can get out of hand pretty quickly. We’ve moved four times since my kids were born, so I’m pretty much an expert at finding ways to make the whole process easier for them.
The key to moving is planning! Once you have your move date start planning your timeline. With a good plan you’ll have time to make this a fun experience for your kids.
We partnered with our friends at TriState Moving and Storage to share some of our favorite ways to make moving a family adventure:
1. Pack an Adventure Bag
We do this first. It’s the action after our “we’re moving” conversation. After explaining the why, where and when with age appropriate details we enlist their help.
Giving kids agency during a move makes a big difference. Depending on how far you are moving, the adventure bag can include: pictures, mementos, toys, clothes and toiletries. Our girls know that their very special belongings will be right in their bag and with them the whole time.
If you’re moving out of state or away from loved ones, making a photo album for their bag will help them feel more secure leaving their loved ones behind.
Adventure bags in our family range from the highly practical, well thought out and organized by our oldest, to shoving some lovies in a bag by our youngest. It’s more important that they are happy with their decisions than the actual contents.
2. Make Packing a Family Activity
Packing always takes way longer than you think so I double the amount of time I think it will take when I’m planning.
Purging before you move will eliminate the boxes from college that get stuck in your basement, take it from my personal experience! You’ll be settled in your new place quicker if you’re not bringing a ton of junk with you.
Speaking of those boxes from college, we’re not in college anymore so do yourself a favor and hire professionals to help you move. TriState Moving and Storage has the whole DMV area covered for moving. These Rockville, MD Commercial Movers are convenient for the Maryland suburbs for all your moving and storage needs.
They handle the heavy load of moving so you can focus on your family. It’s one stop shop for an easy move with moving supplies, packing services and tailored moving services. TriState Moving and Storage has locations in Maryland, Virginia and DC to help you from getting your first boxes and tape to moving your furniture.
We tackle the common junk areas first like garage, attic, basement, closets. Then we pack it all up. You can’t do this too early. It’s easier to dig one thing out of a box if you absolutely must have it the week before the move than making a mad dash to pack at the last minute.
Then we do a toy purge with the kids. We donate or gift the toys we no longer play with to lighten our load.
We’ve had varying degrees of success with this so we go into this process ready to negotiate. We will let the kids pick one new toy to be shipped to the new house the first week we are there to make this process less difficult.
The kids also help us by color coding all our boxes. Each box has a color for where it will go in the new house so it ends up where we want it.
Our youngest was really good at coloring ALL OVER the boxes. This is a great way to involve the younger kids who are too young to actually pack their own things.
Let your older kids pack their toys and clothes. It will help them to find what they need easier on the other side. Bonus: If they see how much they have to pack (and later unpack) they are more willing to part with things they don’t really need.
3. Do a New Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
Exploring your new neighborhood is both helpful and fun. Make a list of things or places that are important to your family.
Our list included things like: parks, bike paths, grocery stores, a library, a Peruvian chicken restaurant, Pho, Target, a fire station, a hospital and an ice cream store.
Big families can split up into teams and cruise around the new neighborhood adding addresses to your list. If you have really young kids or a small family you can find something from the scavenger hunt list everyday until you complete your list.
No matter how you execute it, the idea is to make finding all your new favorite spots an exciting new adventure together.
Neighborhood scavenger hunt is how we found a store that sells a beer from Edinburgh, a good bike path around a lake, a shortcut to the grocery store and a drive through ice cream stand with home made ice cream!
4. Let the Kids Help Design/Decorate Their New Room
Making your kid’s new room feel comfortable will vary with age, but it’s always helpful to involve them as much as age appropriate. Introduce the new space as a chance to showcase their personality and preferences.
Our girls have picked out a night light, new sheets, wall decals and an alarm clock to customize their new rooms.
It’s always easier if your kids can go see the new place and see their new rooms. Taking pictures for them to look at and plan how they want to set it up helps get kids excited about being in a new space.
5. Plan an Upcoming Adventure
This idea came right from my oldest daughter. We were moving away from Grandma and she was really bummed, so we planned a trip to see cousins a couple weeks after we moved.
It really helped having something that she was excited about. Our trip was a much needed break after the work of moving. You can even plan a weekend staycation near you at family friendly accommodations or send the kids for an overnight with loved ones.
You don’t even have to go somewhere else, you can plan a day or two to do something your kids really want to do. When you have something really exciting planned after the move it gives you all something to look forward to.