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How to Make Moving with Kids Less Stressful

July 6, 2010 | Apartment Hunting, Moving Tips

As our recent survey data shows, moving with kids can inspire a range of conflicting emotions among family members, especially kids. Relocation can be a trauma trigger for kids as they fret over sleeping in a new bedroom, possibly changing schools, playing with new friends and neighbors or having their toys rearranged during the move. With all of this room for apprehension, we think that it’s important to try to add some fun to a family move and ease some tension along the way.

Since moving can be an alienating experience for youngsters who often have little control or voice in the process, it’s helpful to consider your kids’ perspective and adjust your approach to the moving process accordingly. Fear and anxiety are the biggest obstacles to overcome when moving with children. To avoid a house divided (or a house totally stressed-out!) when moving with kids, consider these creative ways to calm your children’s nerves during the move:

  • No Toy Left Behind: Ease any worries of forgetting a favorite toy by asking your kids to pack a small suitcase with their favorite items. Whether it’s a favorite book, a beloved doll or board game, each of these items should be packed separately and brought in the car with you. Not only will your kids have peace of mind that their favorite toys won’t be lost during the move, but they’ll also be able to play with them along the way.
  • Make It A Vacation: Pack the car and turn the move into a road trip, stopping at favorite sites or attractions along the way. This works especially if you’ve got a long drive, but can also work for shorter trips, with a little creativity. Have an outdoor picnic in the park or spend a night in a hotel along the way (even if you don’t have to). Each of these activities will make the move special.
  • House Hunters: Plan a scavenger hunt in the new home for the kids while you unpack. The game will help them to get to know their new environment, while at the same time allowing you some space to unpack and unwind.
  • Personal Space: Allow your children the freedom to decorate their new rooms. Creativity helps to ease the mind, and your kids will be most comfortable in a living space that they have helped to create. If purple is your daughter’s favorite color, paint the walls lilac. If your son loves going to the zoo, why not decorate his bedroom with animal-inspired bedding or wall decals?
  • Our Town: Do some research on your new neighborhood before the move to learn about kid-friendly features and specific activities in which your children are or might be interested. Then carve out some special time to show them around and explore what most interests them. For example, if your kids enjoyed being on the swim team or soccer team in your old town, find out if a similar team can be joined in your new city.

The best hope of avoiding moving stress, whether you’ve got kids or not, is to be prepared. Our comprehensive moving checklist can help keep you level-headed by helping you plan your move each step of the way. Although moving with kids may not be completely easy, it doesn’t have to be completely stressful either.

What do you think is the hardest part about moving with kids and what advice do you have for making the process less stressful?

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