Special Moving Situations: How to Move with Small Children

Packing, hiring a moving company and obtaining boxes are standard pratices when moving. Adding young children with a boundless amount of energy and already limited bundle of nerves and impending stress may seem like a recipe for disaster. However, this doesn't have to be the case. With some careful planning and organization – you and your little one can have an easy and fun moving day experience, here's how:

1. Ask for help.
Most likely your child has a friend (or if you are very likely a Grandparent) that lives nearby. Explain your situation to the child's parents and ask them if they could watch your child for a few hours over a designated period of time. You might even want to swap hours: she watches your child for three hours to pack; while you watch hers when she does the grocery shopping, etc. Once you establish this agreement, make a schedule for yourself where you use them time to call and meet with movers or as an opportunity to find boxes – whatever you decide to do, use you're (child-free) time very wisely.

2. Double the fun and pack together.
Although your little one is a lot smaller and may not be able to completly understand directions, they can still be a part of the moving process. Give them a simple job like packing their toys since they can shove (soft) animals and toys in boxes without you worrying about them being broken. When they have packed up their belongings, allow them to be as creative as possible – drawing over boxes, making doodles, etc. Not only will you know that it is there items, but it will allow them to express themselves. You should also have them pick out a special moving day outfit and essentials they will need on the road such as a favorite stuffed animal, crayons and paper and some books.

3. Talk to them.
For small children whose fragile world is changing may anxious and fearful – resulting in fits or worse! As soon as you find out about the move, talk to your child about their exciting new neighborhood and describe all the fun people the will meet and all of the exciting things they will be able to do like the new parks, museums and libraries. You ease their anxiety by reading to them. There are numerous books about moving on the market for children whse characters are also undergoing the same changes. We recommend, “I Want to Go Home” by Sarah Roberts and “I'm Moving” by Fred Rodgers. You may also want to show them pictures of their new house—describing how their room will be decorated and highlight key points like a bigger room, more space, etc.

4. The big move.
On moving day, try to keep your child's routine as similar as possible – taking time to eat and nap. Of course, much of this will be done on the road (whether by car or plane). Be sure that they have their favorite items with them, as well as sufficient snacks, drinks and diapers.

The tribulations of moving affects everyone involved – regardless of how old you are. For younger children, change is often considered scary and something that they have difficult understanding. When you know you are moving, be sure to communicate this with your young child and break the moving news to them (early on). This will enable them to process the information, accept it and be just as excited as you are.