Surviving a Move with Kids

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Last Spring, my husband accepted a new job in a new town. We knew that ultimately our family would be following with a move, instead of him commuting every day. All of this news came when I was 9 months pregnant. Talk about a lot of change happening at once! It was the middle of May and I knew that our family needed to be settled into our new home before our oldest daughter started Kindergarten in the fall. The only way to do that was to try list our house as soon as possible. It just happened that that the week after we welcomed our third daughter home, our house went on the market.

Luckily, I had my nesting instincts to help organize and purge prior to our listing. We sold a lot at a multi-family garage sale, and donated even more. What we didn’t get rid of, my in-laws graciously let us store at their house to free up some space. It was all a matter of only keeping what I could try to maintain as “clean” while we were having showings. My kids still had plenty of toys to keep them occupied – don’t you worry. We were so blessed to get an offer on our home fairly quickly… having showings with a newborn and two other kids, was no easy task.

The following weeks are a blur in my mind. I was trying to adjust to so much change, while getting a whole lot less sleep. If you are faced with an upcoming move (even without a newborn), here are some things that I’ve learned.

Our laundry basket full of items that I wanted easy access too during the move.
A laundry basket full of items that I didn’t want packed far away on moving day.

Be organized. It’s not always possible to be completely organized throughout a move, but try your hardest. Label boxes as specific as you can. You won’t want to be opening up 6 different boxes just to find that one thing you didn’t realize you’d need. And pack a box or two of things that you’ll want to unpack right away…. like cleaning products, sheets for beds, hand towels, soap, and toilet paper. Make sure that those boxes are the last things to get loaded in your car, so you can unload them first!

Get help. If you’re anything like me, you hate asking for help. Don’t be. Packing with kids is an oxymoron. Every time that I put a stuffed animal in a box, they cried because they didn’t want it to be packed away just yet. Never mind the fact that it hadn’t been “loved on” for months. If you can send your kids to a friends house for an afternoon, do it. If a friend offers to come help you pack up your pantry, accept. Take all of the help that is offered to you. And if none is offered, I beg you to ask for it. We were even lucky to have a moving company load and unload for us. If you can do that, I highly recommend it.

Ask around for boxes. I was very surprised by how many people had extra moving boxes. Our moving company had some used ones that we could have for free, but we also got some from friends from church, and even neighbors of friends! People seem to be eager to get rid of their moving boxes when they are done. All you have to do is ask around and you’ll find some.

This book made for a very special first piece of mail at our new address!
Our first piece of mail at our new address!

Prepare your kids. We talked a lot with our girls about our move before it actually happened. I wanted them to know (as best as a 3 and 5 year old could) that we would be in a new town without our best friends or the familiarity of our church and school. Open communication is the key. They got excited about our new adventure and even though our friends aren’t down the street anymore, they send letters in the mail and make special phone calls. One thing that I LOVE is that my sister had sent us our first piece of mail to our new address…. a kids book all about our move. It was the perfect thing to read on the first day in our new house.

Explore. Moving involves a lot of changes for a little one. Getting out to explore your new neighborhood and community is a great way to calm some fears and uncertainty that your kids might be facing. Let them see you learning along side them, and they’ll feel a whole lot better.

Have you moved with your kids?  What tips would you add?

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