Many moms and dads get a bit anxious about how to successfully move with kids. Many kids (and moms and dads for that matter) feel both excited and anxious about setting up their new place. Here are five things you can do to help your children participate during the move-in phase and feel more at home, sooner than later.

Get ready for bed

Yep – it may not be the first thing on your list but setting up your child’s bed right away provides a dedicated place of familiarity and comfort. It also gives your son or daughter an uncluttered place to hang out if you’re busy with move-in logistics.

And if there’s not yet space for the bed, consider letting your child pick a fun new place to sleep on that special first night – it could be a great night for sleeping on the floor under a homemade tent!

Have necessities at the ready

When the family is tired of the moving upheaval and is getting hungry and cranky, the last thing you want to do is think about what to have for dinner. Bring some ready-made food to the new apartment so everyone can easily fill up with low stress during the first few days.

You’ll also be grateful if you can quickly find a few of your children’s toys, have their toiletries at hand and know where the phone charger is located. If your child is old enough for the responsibility, you can even ask them to be in charge of the “priority” box throughout the moving process.

Play tour guide

If your child is not yet familiar with your new location, dedicate some time to explore both the inside and outside of the apartment. Make sure you answer all questions and explain what things will be different … and what things will be the same.

Younger children might want to share this exploration with a stuffed animal, while older kids might want to take photos to share with friends.

Keep a routine

The moving process can be a 10 in terms of disruption, so anything you can do to create normalcy will help your child feel more secure in new surroundings.

Maintaining daily routines and regular bedtimes will help ground your child, and introducing familiar sights, sounds and smells can help as well. This can be as easy as cooking a favorite meal, reading a beloved book or relaxing together to watch – for the 10th time – the best movie ever.

Be a good role model

This is truly a time when actions speak louder than words.

If your child is nervous about living in a new place, listen to their concerns and acknowledge that moving isn’t easy. Let your child know their input is important by inviting them to make decisions, such as where to place photos or in which drawer to put the silverware. If they can make safe choices about how to set up their room, let them have at it.

And as the case with so many parenting experiences, patience is your friend. Give your child space and time to test the unfamiliar. Over time they will begin to settle in and eventually feel right at home.

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