Moving can be an exciting and tumultuous time, especially when you have kids. Children can bring lots of energy and adventure to moving day. You know your kids best, what they can handle, what interests them, and what tasks will be helpful to you. Conversely, if you don’t give them enough to do, they can distract you from what needs to be done. Here are five easy ways to redirect your kids’ energy towards getting involved on moving day.
1. Encourage children to pack a bag of their essentials.
Whatever is a must-have for your kids, have them pack those items in a special suitcase, duffel bag, or overnight bag. That way, they know their important items are accompanying them. This can be anything from a special blankie or stuffed animal to favorite toys or books. Tossing in pajamas, underwear, toothbrush, and toothpaste doesn’t hurt, either.
2. Allow the kids to help pack, label, and decorate boxes.
Children as young as toddlers can help decorate boxes with colorful stickers and drawings. Older kids may help packing up items, along with labeling, taping, and transporting them to the moving truck. If little ones tire of stickers and markers, pushing boxes or playing inside empty ones can occupy them with a few hours of creative play. We’ve all seen boxes become airplanes, trains, castles, forts, boats, submarines, and more with a child’s endless imagination.
3. “Hire” your kids as part of the cleaning crew.
Whether you pay in dollars or customized treats (small toy, going out for ice cream, etc.), a little incentive can get the whole family working together. While little kids can help wipe baseboards, lower cupboards, and furniture, big kids can help clean windows and screens, dust furniture and moldings, touch-up painting, and wipe out closets, cabinets, and cupboards.
4. Show the kids how to live large in open spaces.
You may realize how much room you have once everything is cleared out. Think about using that extra space to your advantage. Have a dance party, wrestling match, or game of chase during a packing breaks. Once bed frames are taken down, use the mattresses as trampolines. Have an indoor family campout in the living room the last few nights in your old place or the first few nights in your new house.
5. Let the kids help settle into your new home with sorting, organizing, and putting away belongings.
Having children help set up their rooms after a move can give them a sense of belonging in the new house. They can put their toys away, place books on bookshelves, and place clothing in drawers, depending on their ages. Capitalize on the “team spirit” you’ve built up during the move by allowing kids to organize the silverware drawer, wipe down windowsills, or make a craft project to decorate your new home.
Gina M. Geremia, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, is a strong proponent of children being involved in the adventure of moving. She says,
Encourage children to participate in putting things in their new places. This reduces stress because not only will children know where their things are, but they will also feel that they are an important part of the process.
Contributed by Hayden Stewart: Hayden is a contributing writer and media specialist for the Allied Van Lines Moving Blog. He regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and home blogs.